You are here

Increased investment in Healthcare needed to ensure that it is a social right for all

Healthcare is a social right that every person should enjoy. It is also an important factor in economic success. People should be assured of the required treatment and care in times of illness or vulnerability, but this is currently not the case in Ireland. A two-tier system exists where private patients have quicker access to both diagnostics and treatment than do public patients. 

Overall, Ireland’s public healthcare system ranks poorly compared to other EU countries, due to a combination of insufficient capital investment over a prolonged period being compounded by recent cuts to current expenditure.  The root cause of these issues will come as no surprise; capital expenditure in the sector was 42% lower in 2013 than in 2008. Our stock of public residential long-stay and short stay beds has been cut by roughly a third. Funding for health services for the disabled has been severely reduced. Cuts in spending tend to disproportionately affect people on low incomes, as they are less likely to be able to afford private treatment.

Health spending tends to be higher in countries with older populations. Ireland has a relatively young one at the moment, and yet we are struggling to deal with the current situation. We need to increase healthcare spending not just for demographic reasons, but also to catch up with other European countries in terms of facilities and standards of service provision.

In the run up to the election Social Justice Ireland has produced a short briefing on Health outlining some key challenges and policy recommendations.  To read more on this issue please click here.