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Counting the cost of a trip to Emergency

I don't know about you, but it takes a lot for me to bring my child to the GP. I poke, prod, give them over the counter medicines before sighing and shelling out €55. They'd want to be in a serious state for me to consider the Emergency Department.

Well, according to research by parenting site mummypages.ie, 58pc of us hesitate before deciding whether a GP visit is necessary. Twenty five percent use online sites to diagnose what's wrong first which I'm not sure is a great idea at all.

Of course, many are worried about the cost of course. An ED visit costs €100 if you haven't a referral letter.

The Government was due to roll out the free Under 6s medical card, but that looks less likely as time rolls on amid the controversy, and cost, of the scheme.

It's worth noting that the charge doesn't apply if:

- you have a medical card

- you have been referred by a GP first, (which makes both economic and medical sense)

- your baby is under 6 weeks

- it is maternity related

- it is a recurrent visit for the same illness and you've already paid.

If you have private health insurance, you might also consider the free service offered by their nurses, available 24/7 over the phone to make a determination:

VHI: Nurseline 1850 247 724

Aviva: Nurse on Call 1850 946 644

Laya: Nurseline 1850 923 500

Glo Health: Nurse on Call 1890 767 767