The clarification comes amid reports of patients being charged for Covid-19 testing over the weekend, including a post widely shared on Twitter which reported a person being charged €50 for a weekend test.
The Times also reported today that some GP services have been charging for consultations for Covid-19 tests, contrary to health service guidelines.
The Twitter post came from a journalist who reported an instance of a person developing Covid-19 symptoms and contacting a doctor for assessment.
The person was referred for a test but charged €50 over the phone, reportedly due to the fact it was a Saturday.
A friend of mine in #Kildare developed #Covid19 symptoms on Fri night, followed advice & called #KDoc out of hours service on Sat morning for assessment. She was referred for a test but charged €50. Surely that cost will be prohibitive for some who will delay coming forward?Advertisement
— Susan Keogh (@susankeoghnews) August 9, 2020
Concerns have been raised that this cost will delay people making contact with GPs over the weekends or out of hours.
In a statement, the Health Service Executive confirmed rapid access to coronavirus testing is a fundamental part of its strategy to monitor the spread of Covid-19 in Ireland.
It says an agreement with GP representatives was extended in June to include out of hours services, in order for the public to avail of free assessments and tests.