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Early findings from a new research project entitled ‘Mapping the Pathways to Universal Healthcare in Ireland’, reveals that there is a huge gap between the intent of universalism and what has actually happened.
The new research project finds that Irish people are paying €600 million more for healthcare than in 2007.
The project also finds that with the exception of free GP care for the youngest and oldest, there has been little change in the proportion of the population who can access healthcare without charge since the government came into power.
“Over the austerity period we increased the financial barriers to accessing health care so that in 2014 we required each person in Ireland to spend €130 more than in 2007 to get the same care,” said Dr Steve Thomas, Associate Professor, Centre for Health Policy and Management in Trinity, who leads the project.
“This is inconsistent with international and Irish commitments to universal healthcare. We need to reverse this process and as the economy expands dismantle current financial barriers.”
Sarah Thomson, Senior Health Financing Specialist with the WHO, commented on Ireland’s progress towards universal healthcare saying “Ireland has been late in moving towards universal health coverage, in contrast to most of Europe.
“To build on recent achievements and make health care accessible and affordable for the whole population, international experience suggests political commitment, clarity of purpose and policy stability will be important.”