Monday 23 April 2018

'There’s a bull in the field... what can I do?' - oddest calls for help to the HSE

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Geraldine Gittens

Geraldine Gittens

The Irish public is turning to the Health Service Executive for counsel on every aspect of their lives, not just health, according to recent research.

While the top ten most common queries received by HSELive include those related to medical cards, the European Health Insurance Card, and the drug payment scheme, it also receives the the most bizarre calls for help from the Irish public.

“There’s a bull in the field which is annoying me at night time, what can I do?”

“I have bats in my attic which are keeping me awake at night,” another person asked.

While another cried: “Is that AA, as my car has broken down?”

Meanwhile, one mother who contacted HSELive wanted to know how to sterilise a pram which was up in the attic for a few years.

Another asked: “My son has come back from Australia and I found a spider in his bag and I don’t know what to do with it. Is there an antidote that the HSE can use in the event of an outbreak of a disease?”

Over 27,000 people have used the LiveChat function on, the HSE said today.

Geraldine Charman, Team Leader at HSELive said; “Our frontline support team at HSELive is ready and waiting to help anyone looking for information about the health service.

Director General, Tony O’Brien said; “We know that navigating a complex health system, either for yourself or for a loved one, is not always easy for people."

"Improving access to health services is a key focus for us and the importance of information provision in terms of supporting access to health services cannot be underestimated.

HSELive operates Monday to Friday, 8am - 8pm, and Saturday, 10am-5pm.

The top ten most common queries received by HSELive are:

1.       Medical Cards

2.       European Health Insurance Card

3.       Drug Payment Scheme

4.       Long Term Illness Scheme

5.       Dental Services

6.       Optical Services

7.       Births, Deaths and Marriages

8.       Child Adolescent and Mental Health Services

9.       Services for older people

10.     Aids and Appliances

Kirsten Connolly, the HSE's Deputy Director of Communications said; “HSELive provides customer-focused information and support to the public on all aspects of health and social care services. We want HSELive to be the ‘go to’ information service for everything you need to know about accessing public health services."

The HSELive team has transitioned from providing an analogue (phone only) service to a multi-platform service over the past 18 months.

HSELive can be contacted by calling 1850 24 1850 from a landline, or 041 6850300 from a mobile phone, emailing, tweeting @HSELive, or visiting

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