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Health


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. 

Budget 2021 must be judged by the degree to which it protects people from poverty, equips people and businesses to confront Covid-19 and Brexit, and addresses the climate and environmental crisis. The challenge for Government is to use the fiscal space available to introduce the necessary measures to support incomes and underpin the public health measures to save lives, preserve our economic capacity and prepare for the impact of a no-deal Brexit.  Its response to this challenge in Budget 2021 has been mixed.

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

'Building a New Social Contract – Policy Recommendations’ contains more than eighty specific policy recommendations that would go a considerable direction towards a new social contract to improve the quality of life and wellbeing of everyone and ensure that a no-one is left behind as our economy and society recovers from the impact of Covid-19.

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.


‘A Rising Tide Failing to Lift All Boats’ is the latest publication in Social Justice Ireland’s European Research Series.   This report analyses performance in areas such as poverty and inequality, employment, access to key public services and taxation.  The report also points to key policy proposals and alternatives for discussion.  These include the right to sufficient income, meaningful work and access to essential quality services.  The policy proposals explore how these areas might be delivered upon in a changing world.

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.

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