You are here

Policy issues concerning Health

The link between poverty and ill-health is well established by international and national research. A World Health Organization Commission that reported in 2008 on the social determinants of health found that health is influenced by factors like poverty, food security, social exclusion and discrimination, poor housing, unhealthy early childhood conditions, poor educational status, and low occupational status. A look at the the Covid-19 geohive clearly shows just how much of a postcode lottery healthcare inequalities can be.

As part of of the Irish Health Survey 2019 the CSO published a report on 'Persons with a Disability' which gives data and insight into the self-reported health staus of people with a disability in Ireland.  One quarter of people with a disability report their health status as Bad or Very Bad and 43% of persons with a disability report some form of depression.  These figures are well in excess of the State average where just 4 per cent report their health status as Bad or Very Bad and 14% report some form of depression.  


The CSO recently published 'Carers and Social Supports' as part of of the Irish Health Survey 2019 which gives data and insight into the lives of Carers in Ireland.  Almost one in eight people aged 15 and over provide care in Ireland, more women (14%) than men (11%) are carers, people in the age group 45-54 provide the most care, and, almost one in five carers report some form of depression.  


The CSO recently published the Irish Health Survey 2019.  Among the main findings of the survey are that a quarter of persons report having a long-lasting health condition, over a fifth (21%) of unemployed persons report some form of depression compared to 9% of employed people, 82% of females visited a GP in the previous 12 months compared to 68% of males and more than one in two people (56%) report they are overweight or obese. 

Tomorrow is World Mental Health Day. The theme this year is Mental Health for All - Greater Investment, Greater Access. Everyone, Everywhere.  But how does Ireland fare when it comes to mental health services?

Today is International Day of Older Persons.  To mark this occasion, we consider a presentation given at our Annual Social Policy Conference last year by Dr. Diarmuid O'Shea on Ageing in Ireland - A Measure of Succes and why we can lead the way!  This is an extract only. Dr. O'Shea's full presentation is available to view or to download here.

The National Economic Plan - to be published on Budget day - must give equal weight to environmental, social and economic considerations. Otherwise, this Government will simply repeat the mistakes of the past and many will be left behind.  The National Economic Plan must be underpinned by a new social contract that treats our environment, society and economy equally

The latest outpatient waiting lists indicate that 601,362 patients were awaiting an appointment as of July 2020, an increase of 8 per cent on January 2020 and 66.7 per cent since 2014.  Almost 20 per cent were waiting 0-3 months while 22.8 per cent were waiting 18 months or more.  With COVID-19 case numbers again increasing, these waiting lists are likely to continue to rise.

People should be assured of the required treatment and healthcare in their times of illness and vulnerability. The standard of care available is dependent to a great degree on the resources made available, which in turn are dependent on the expectations of society. Covid-19 put an unprecedented strain on our healthcare system, however the systemic issues and overreliance on acute services which dominated the Irish healthcare infrastructure pre-Covid only served to exacerbate the problem.

COVID-19 is placing unprecedented pressure on our healthcare system.  The emergency measures implemented to date are welcome and necessary.  However in the medium and long term we must address the issues of bed capacity, lack of step down care facilities and the need to broaden access to community care so that our acute hospital system is better placed to deal with any future shock.

Pages