Photo Credit: Gript

Over a quarter of Irish State spending goes on healthcare, report finds

Over a quarter of all Irish State spending now goes towards healthcare, according to a report compiled by the Parliamentary Budget Office.

The report – entitled “Health Spending In Ireland 2015 – 2023” – found that 27% of the Irish State’s total expenditure goes towards health annually. It said that the Dáil had approved €24 billion for healthcare spending in 2023, meaning this year saw the “largest ever health budget in the history of the State in nominal terms.”

The report claims that the growth in Ireland’s healthcare spending between 2019 and 2020 as a proportion of the total value of its economy was the second highest of all 27 EU countries, beaten only by Cyprus.

“This is likely a result, at least in part, of additional funding in response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the report reads, adding that much of this increase has remained in the healthcare budget even after the end of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Much of this additional funding now appears to be retained in the health budget,” it says.

The research also found that as of 2023, Ireland has the third-highest spending per capita on healthcare as a percentage of Gross National Income in the EU, surpassed only by Germany and France. As recently as 2019 Ireland, was only the sixth-highest spender.

According to the report, healthcare spending in Ireland has increased year-on-year since 2015.

The study claims that the key drivers in healthcare spending include a variety of factors, including demographic changes, such as a growing and ageing population; increases in staffing numbers and pay rates; increased capital costs and the price of medicines, and more.

Despite the increased spending, figures from the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) released earlier this month revealed that 895,700 people were on some form of hospital waiting list at the end of July, including almost 100,800 children and young people. This led the Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) to express “continuing concern” at what it called an “excessive number” of children waiting for an appointment to be treated or assessed in public hospitals.

In January of this year Gript asked Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe if he believes he got “value for money” on healthcare during his tenure as Finance Minister, judging by the state of Irish accident and emergency departments today. That video can be viewed below.

Gript also recently asked Taoiseach Leo Varadkar about years-long wait times for child scoliosis procedures, which his government previously said would be solved by 2017. That video can also be viewed below.

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