People should be assured of the required treatment and care in their times of illness or vulnerability. The standard of care is dependent to a great degree on the resources made available, which in turn are dependent on the expectations of society. The obligation to provide healthcare as a social right rests on all people. In a democratic society this obligation is transferred through the taxation and insurance systems to government and other bodies that assume or contract this responsibility. These are very important issues in Ireland today, where people attach importance to the health service. Our health system, and its workers, have been placed under tremendous pressure due to the COVID-19 pandemic since March 2020. The pandemic has highlighted shortcomings in our healthcare system and significant additional resources have had to be provided since.
This policy brief looks at the Irish healthcare system, both before and during the pandemic.