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The Irish health-care system and austerity: sharing the pain
Thomas, Steve; Burke, Sara; Barry, Sarah
As Ireland exits its bailout, the experience of the Irish health system provides valuable insights into the opportunities and pitfalls of managing austerity. Ireland is being held up for prudent adjustment and austerity. Yet 6 years into the crisis, Ireland's economy is only just emerging from its second bout of recession, its debt to GDP ratio stands at about 120%, and its fiscal deficit, although falling, is still above the 3% European Union guideline.1 It is revealing to sift through the evidence and see how the Irish health system has adjusted to this macroeconomic environment, providing lessons for those who must embrace austerity. The Irish health system has endured radical resource cuts. From 2009 to 2013 financing of the Health Service Executive fell by 22%, which amounted to almost €3·3 billion less in public funding.2 Staffing of public services has also fallen by 12 200 whole time equivalents or 10% of total staffing from its peak in 2007.2 A major concern at the beginning of the crisis was that the Irish health-care system would not be able to sustain cuts and maintain services and quality. Nevertheless, many indicators of performance suggest better outputs with fewer resources. There are now more day cases in the hospital sector, more attendances and admissions at emergency departments, and slightly lower average lengths of stay.3
Keyword(s): HEALTH SERVICES; ECONOMICS
Publication Date:
2014
Type: Journal article
Peer-Reviewed: Unknown
Language(s): English
Institution: Lenus
Publisher(s): The Lancet
Related Link(s): http://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0140673614607443
First Indexed: 2016-04-23 06:58:46 Last Updated: 2017-05-12 07:20:36