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When to visit an injury unit

Injury units treat recent injuries that are:

  • not life-threatening
  • unlikely to need admission to hospital

They can help with many of the injuries people go to the emergency department (ED) for. For example, broken bones, dislocations, and minor burns.

You can get treatment such as x-rays, plaster casts, and wound care in an injury unit.

What injury units can treat

If they cannot help with a particular problem, they will direct you to where you can get the right help.

No appointment needed

You do not need an appointment.

You may be referred to an injury unit by your GP or sent to one from an ED. If you have a referral, you do not have to pay a fee.

When to go to an emergency department

Go to an ED urgently instead of an injury unit for:

  • injuries to the chest, tummy (abdomen) or pelvis
  • serious head and spine injuries

Emergency action required: Call 112 or 999 for an ambulance if:

  • you need urgent medical attention
  • a life is at risk

What to expect

When you arrive at an injury unit, you will be:

  • registered and assessed by the nursing team
  • treated by a doctor or advanced nurse practitioner (a specially trained nurse) depending on the care you need
  • given details of any follow-up appointments you may need in the injury unit
  • referred on to other services if needed

If you are in an injury unit and need to go to an ED, you will be referred directly from the injury unit.

What injury units can treat

Injury units can treat:

  • broken bones, sprains and strains, from knees to toes
  • broken bones, sprains and strains, from collarbone to fingertips
  • minor facial injuries (including oral, dental and nasal injuries)
  • minor scalds and burns
  • wounds, bites, cuts, grazes and scalp lacerations (cuts)
  • small abscesses and boils
  • splinters and fish hooks
  • objects stuck in eyes, ears or nose
  • minor head injuries (fully-conscious patients, who did not have loss of consciousness or vomit after the head injury)

What injury units do not treat

Adults

Injury units do not treat:

  • conditions due to medical illness - for example, fever, seizures, headache
  • injury causing chest pain, abdominal pain or shortness of breath
  • serious head injury
  • chest pain
  • respiratory conditions
  • abdominal (stomach) pain
  • gynaecological problems
  • neck or back pain
  • pregnancy-related conditions
  • pelvis or hip fractures
  • injuries due to self-harm
  • suspected serious injury after an accident
  • not being able to walk following a fall from a height or a motor vehicle crash

In these cases, you should attend your nearest emergency department rather than an injury unit.

Children aged 5 and older

Injury units do not treat:

  • any child of any age with a medical illness, for example, fever, seizures, respiratory symptom
  • non-traumatic limp or non-use of a limb
  • injuries following a fall from a height or a motor vehicle crash
  • serious head injuries
  • abdominal (stomach) pain
  • gynaecological problems
  • injuries due to self-harm
  • neck pain or back pain

In these cases, you should bring your child to your nearest emergency department that sees children rather than an injury unit.

Ages injury units can treat

Most injury units treat patients over 5 years of age. Some injury units have higher age limits.

Injury units may not treat any child younger than 5 years.

Check what age your local injury unit treats

How much it costs

It costs €75 to attend an injury unit.

If you are referred from an injury unit to an ED, you do not have to pay another fee.

There is no charge for patients with a:

Page last reviewed: 29 November 2023
Next review due: 29 November 2026