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Access to Health and Social Care

Health and Social Care in Northern Ireland

The information on these pages are for people who are new to Northern Ireland, to help them understand how to get the health and social care services they need.

Health and Social Care Services in Northern Ireland are generally free of charge at the point of delivery for people who are considered to be ordinarily resident.  This will depend on your individual circumstances and some people may have to pay for anything other than emergency Health and Social Care.

Health and Social Care (HSC)

In Northern Ireland, the National Health Service (NHS) is referred to as Health and Social Care or HSC.  HSC in Northern Ireland provides critical and emergency care and also provides social care services like home care services, family and children’s services, day care services and social work services.

There are 6 Health and Social Care Trusts in Northern Ireland, providing health and social care services.

The map below shows five regions within Northern Ireland.  These regions are called Health and Social Care Trust areas.  The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service Trust covers all five regions of Northern Ireland.


Patients who do not speak English as a first or competent second language can make use of the Interpreting Service. This provides face to face interpreters, which means an interpreter will be  present during your appointment. The service is free-of-charge and legally, it is your right to have professional language assistance. Find out more here download this booklet.

How Do You Access HSC?

The family doctor, also known as the General Practitioner or GP, is the entry point for a whole range of services.

You should register with a General Practitioner (GP) Practice straight away when you arrive in Northern Ireland instead of waiting until you need health or social care services.

You will need to fill in an HSCR-1 form to register.  It is available in a range of other languages.

Find out more about health and social care services in Northern Ireland or download the booklet below.