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Health


The Economic Recovery Plan announced today, while welcome, is not of the scale required to address the social, economic and environmental challenges that we now face. Covid-19 has brought extraordinary social and economic costs.  Alongside this, the challenges that existed pre-Covid remain and cannot be ignored

As adults and children, professional and amateur return to training across the country, the benefits of exercise and group activities for both mental and physical health are well documented. We need to ensure that these benefits are enjoyed by everybody, removing barriers to access and widening the scope.

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. 

'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.

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.

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