With the health care system under severe strain, a new survey suggests there is little doubt that Ireland is among the best places in the world to get the health service you need.
According to the survey by The Irish Health Foundation, published in the medical journal The Lancet, in the next five years, the Irish will spend an average of €2,000 more per person on health services than other European countries.
The total expenditure on health care is forecast to hit €7,800 by 2021-22.
The institute says this is because Ireland has the lowest costs of care and the least need for care, and because of the availability of a range of specialists, nurses and doctors.
The institute estimates that in the first five years of the study, there will be an extra €3,800 in health care spending for every €1,000 spent by other countries.
The research found that Ireland’s high level of life expectancy means that its people are living longer, with those over 55 and those in the 25-to-39 age group living an average 8.9 years longer than those under 30.
It also found that women are more likely to live to their 90s than men.
The survey, carried out in the wake of the death of a young woman from cancer at a Dublin hospital, also found there is much lower demand for health services in rural areas than in urban areas, where more people are likely to seek treatment at a hospital.
The number of people seeking treatment at hospital emergency departments fell from 1.7 million in 2005 to 1.2 million in 2020-21, it said.
The report, which was carried out by the institute’s medical services unit, also said that the number of acute admissions per capita fell by 0.2 per cent in the year to 2021-23.
It found that hospitalisation rates were lower in rural and regional areas, and that hospital beds were at an average level of 973 beds per 100,000 people.
It also found Ireland has one of the lowest levels of emergency departments in the OECD.
It said the number was lower than that of other European Union countries.