Health Debate In Ireland Continues

March 9th, 2011
Health Debate In Ireland Continues

Health is fast becoming a major issue in Ireland along with the economy and the banking crisis. However many are positive that a proper health care system can be created in the country which is both fair and efficient.

Unlike in Britain with a free national health service, Irish people, like most people around the world have to pay a health insurance premium. But this is being attacked now since people are being forced to pay increasingly heavy premiums; some have opted out completely because they cannot afford it.

Health care was hotly debated during the recent Irish elections with Fine Gael proposing a scheme roughly between the present one and that used in Holland.

The Netherlands scheme requires everyone to have health insurance with a premium paid everyone or subsidised for those on low pay. Access to primary care facilities including hospitals, doctors, prescriptions and mental health services is free. Long term care however is funded differently.

A group of professionals believes that Ireland needs to progress towards a more equitable system that puts the patient at the heart of the scheme. Institutional needs should be secondary.

The group points to the many failures in the current Irish system. While they recognise that cancer services reorganisation has been successful, most other services are poor by comparison. They suggest that to overcome this there has to be a change in the way health is viewed politically, clinically and managerially. The group also point to the need for better training and support for staff.

It is interesting that none of the parties in the recent elections were prepared to move towards a full and free system similar to the British NHS.

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