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Demographic changes putting cost pressure on health service

The report, which is titled Planning for Health — Trends and Priorities to inform Health Service Planning 2016, states the healthcare budget has decreased by over 21 per cent from 2009 to 2015,  while demographic pressure has increased by over 9 per cent.

It adds that in 2016, if existing patterns persist, there will be a cumulative reduction of the total healthcare budget from 2009 of 30.6 per cent, as a result of demographic pressure of 10.5 per cent and budget reduction of 20.1 per cent.

“Using the same methodology as employed by the Department of Health, based on European data in the top-down approach, a 1.3 per cent upward adjustment in public health budget would be required to meet this ‘pure demographic effect’ in order to deliver the same level and quality of service from 2015 to 2016,” according to the report.

Within the hospital system, it is stressed the funding increases to meet demographic cost pressure, which equate to 1.6 per cent for the period 2015 to 2016, would not allow for any quality improvement initiatives.

The HSE National Director for Health and Wellbeing Dr Stephanie O’Keeffe states that the report is the “first important step” to utilising current demographic projections, disease prevalence and service utilisation data and knowledge to support decision-making and service design.

“It is our plan to build on this initial publication, to expand analysis to look at other healthcare cost drivers in addition to demographic pressures,” according to Dr O’Keeffe.

“As part of this work into the future, it is recommended that a ‘Planning for Health’ paper is developed for all Community Healthcare Organisations and Hospital Groups to guide robust planning, focused on meeting the evolving needs of local populations. This proposed next phase aligns with plans identified under the broader health service reform programme around completion of population needs assessments.”

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