THE €100 A&E charge should cover the care a person needs in relation to an illness or injury -- known as an "episode of care" as set out in regulations.
An episode of care would involve looking after a patient with a specific condition from diagnosis to the finalisation of treatment.
The problem arises when people return to A&E departments for more treatment, rather than a public outpatient clinic which is free.
An example of a patient returning to A&E is someone with a sports injury which, on the first visit, doctors believe does not need to be X-rayed.
But the patient may feel the injury is not healing and so returns to the A&E -- and, depending on its location and time limits, he or she could be charged again.