Ireland’s healthcare system is a comprehensive public healthcare system and remains among the best healthcare systems in the world.
Healthcare delivery in Ireland is through public and private healthcare. The public health care system is governed by the Health Act 2004, which established a new body to be responsible for providing health and personal social services to everyone living in.
In addition to the public sector, there is also a large private healthcare market for the Irish people.
Every legal resident in Ireland is entitled to receive health care through the public health care system, which is managed by the Health Service Executive (HSE) and funded by general taxation and subsidized fees for service.
Ireland’s healthcare system has improved spontaneously over the years, which might be traced to the investment and finances pumped into the system.
Introduction to Ireland healthcare system
The public healthcare system is funded by the government, with the deficit paid through voluntary health care payments and household spending.
To receive publicly funded health services in Ireland, you must be able to satisfy the HSE that you are ‘ordinarily resident in Ireland‘.
To establish whether you are ordinarily resident, you must be able to demonstrate that you intend to remain in Ireland for a minimum of one year by providing any evidence that you will be staying.
In recent times, about 40% of the population receives medical care at absolutely no cost. The remainder receives heavily subsidized services through the public system or they choose to opt for private insurance coverage.
More than 45% of Irish residents hold a private health insurance policy, the highest percentage in all of Europe.
The popularity of private medical care is due in part to the costs associated with the public system for those not eligible for the Medical Card and GP Visit Card programs. Also, with private care, the waits are much shorter and the diagnostic procedures are more high-tech.
Is healthcare in Ireland free?
The healthcare system in Ireland is not entirely free, because you need to be eligible to get it free and eligibility comes with a cost.
However, it can be said to be highly subsidized, and having a medical card, will allow one to access most medical services for free.
According to OEDC, The average person in Ireland ends up spending about £497 per year on out-of-pocket healthcare expenditure.
All maternity services and child care up to the age of 6 years of age are provided free of charge. Emergency care is provided for €100 for a visit to an Accident and Emergency department if one has not attended a GP first.
In Ireland, a general practitioner, or GP, is a doctor who works from a private surgery rather than a hospital. Unless you have a medical emergency, then the GP is usually your first point of contact. Everyone else has a choice of sticking with public healthcare and paying costs when they come up, or going private and paying premiums for a policy that will protect them from outrageous charges.
Ireland healthcare system pros and cons
Ireland’s healthcare system pros and cons can be said to be the effect of the healthcare system on the citizens and the government.
There is no doubt that in every rule, there must be a negative and a positive impact. In Ireland’s healthcare system, there is no exemption.
Ireland healthcare system pros
Ireland’s healthcare system comes with many advantages; we are going to look at some of these advantages of the comprehensive healthcare system in Ireland.
- Ability to access health care services regardless of their ability to pay
- Subsidized Medical and health cost
- There is a generally healthier population
Ability to access health care services regardless of their ability to pay
Ireland’s healthcare system gives the ability to access health care services regardless of their ability to pay. This is very important because you don’t need to bother yourself with your medical cost once you are eligible.
Subsidized Medical and health cost
Ireland’s healthcare system goes a long in subsidizing the cost of medical bills. This system drastically reduces the cost of medical bills in all ramifications.
Under this healthcare system, there is no competition because the government regulates health care costs. This drives the cost of healthcare down substantially.
There is a generally healthier population
This system is essential for a healthy general population because every legal citizen is eligible to access the healthcare system when in need of it.
Ireland healthcare system cons
Providing quality, and equality in healthcare services to all who seek a response to their needs are considered to be among the great challenges in the Ireland healthcare system area.
As earlier stated, given the advantages accruing from the Ireland healthcare system, there are also disadvantages people are likely to face and they include;
- Longer wait time
- Increased government budget
- Unconducive government policies
Longer wait time
Since the government makes healthcare service delivery cheap, most people tend to go to these public hospitals thereby, making them populated and indirectly increasing the wait time to be attended to.
Increased government budget
Among the Ireland healthcare system cons, the government invests a huge sum in the health sector thereby stressing the budget indirectly.
Unconducive government policies
The Ireland healthcare system may be faced with this challenge of unfavorable government policies which would also affect the private sector leading to more expensive medical bills from the private sector.
Conclusion on the Ireland healthcare system
The Ireland healthcare system is one of the best in Europe and the world at large. The government is equally working vehemently to make sure that they stand out in standard healthcare delivery by adopting modern technologies and improving the general health sector.
However, there are still challenges as stated in the Ireland healthcare system’s pros and cons.