The Irish Times reported yesterday on the findings of a report commissioned by the Department of Health. It turns out that ....
1. Figures show that Irish GPs are the highest paid in the OECD and earn the second highest multiple of average wages
2. Ireland is the only EU health system that does not offer universal coverage of primary care. Gaps in health coverage create financial barriers to access, particularly for those just above the threshold for medical cards
3. Ireland is one of only three countries to charge “non-poor” households for essential prescription drugs and one of only six to charge for attending hospital emergency departments. It says the hospital charge is much higher than elsewhere – €100 compared to only €2-€30 in other countries that charge
4. Commonly used medicines cost up to 24 times more in Ireland than they do in New Zealand (comparable in size)
5. It costs €51 on average to visit a GP here compared to €22 in France. In fact last year the man from the IMF pointed out at a press conference that a GP visit costs double in this country than many other European countries
The authors warn that efficiency gains from planned and additional reforms will not be sufficient to fund Minister for Health Dr James Reilly’s ambitious plans to provide universal access to primary care and strengthen services.
Another fine mess. Nearly two years into his Ministry and Dr Reilly has not addressed these in any real terms. To date the IMO (which represents GP's) has had no discussions regarding the promised medical cards for 56,000 patients with long-term illness (like CF or MS). The Troika pushed him to allow all GP's treat medical card patients.
So what has James been doing for the last nearly two years?
Was the FG manifesto on health really just a nice looking brochure that James actually had no intention of implementing?
Seriously, UHI, free GP care .... was it all a simple election promise that James had no real intention of following through on? Should "we" be listening very carefully now to what Ms Shortall has to say? Have Labour foolishly ignored Ms Shortall?
A speech given by journalist, broadcaster and health policy analyst Sara Burke (as an independent commentator) to Fianna Fail’s first annual policy conference about current government health policy is well worth a read.
A critique of government progress to date « SaraBurke.com
Irish medicines up to 24 times dearer than in New Zealand | The Irish Times
Cuts are destroying healthcare, says Reilly - The Irish Times - Fri, Nov 30, 2012