The Two-Tier System in Irish Healthcare

irish healthcare

The term “healthcare” in Ireland can refer to two different systems. One is the Irish National Health Service (NHS) and the other is the private sector. This article explores the differences between the two and the options available to expatriates moving to Ireland.

Medical charities flourished in Ireland during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries

During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the state was not yet ready to take on the task of solving the social problems that plagued Europe. In the heyday of local charitable aid, a single family might be able to control the major relief institutions of a small town. But as the 19th century progressed, the burgeoning industrial centers of Britain and France witnessed the creation of more and more voluntary hospitals.

The most impressive of these institutions was the ‘charity’ hospital. This was a medical facility that was staffed by physicians and surgeons in honorary positions. Some hospitals even offered special treatment for certain groups of diseases.

Of course, in the early decades of the twentieth century, hospitals were still run by local government. These were akin to cottage hospitals. They were in many ways the cutting edge of medicine. However, with the advent of new medical technologies, these institutions were being left behind.

The two-tier system remains unresolved

The two-tier system in Irish healthcare remains a major issue, despite efforts at reform. While we might see a rebirth of the public hospital as an integrated health provider, the private sector is still on the case. For instance, the University Hospital of Limerick had a record number of emergency patients mid-September.

In terms of the healthcare sector, Ireland has a VHI scheme entrusted with the lion’s share of the nation’s medical spending. Despite this, the country still has the second highest cost of care in the EU, and the second highest waiting list. To make matters worse, this underfunded public sector is incapable of meeting demand.

Luckily, the Irish government is making a concerted effort to rectify the situation. A raft of new initiatives is taking effect.

GPs are active in both general practices and out-of-hours facilities

General Practitioners (GPs) are key players in the delivery of healthcare in Ireland. They are the first point of contact for patients with health concerns. However, GPs face many challenges in the current times.

The Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) estimates there are 3496 GPs in the country. This estimate excludes GPs who are working in other countries, as well as retired GPs.

ICGP estimates that general practice provides over 29 million consultations a year. This includes more than one million appointments in out-of-hours services. For these appointments, GPs often charge a fee. In some cases, the fee is exempt for people with Medical Cards.

Most GPs operate as private businesses. They charge for their service at an average rate of EUR65 per consultation. Some GPs offer house visits.

Cost of adverse events in Ireland

Adverse events are injuries sustained by a patient as a result of care management. They can be preventable or reversible. These events increase hospital length of stay (LOS), add days to the total stay of a patient, and increase readmission rates.

An Irish National Adverse Event Study (INAES) was conducted to understand the prevalence of adverse events in Irish hospitals. The study used a two-step methodology, including a retrospective chart review, to assess the overall prevalence of adverse events in the acute sector.

For the INAES, 1574 randomly selected adult inpatient admissions from eight hospitals were used. Overall, AE incidence density was estimated as 10.3 events per 100 admissions. This rate was lower than the overall rate in Sweden (12.3%), but comparable to other OECD countries.

Health insurance options for expatriates moving to Ireland

If you are planning to move to Ireland, you will want to get the right health insurance. Not only will you save money in the long run, you will also have peace of mind.

There are several options available for expatriates living in Ireland. The first is to obtain a medical card, which will grant you access to the public health system.

Another option is to apply for private healthcare, which can help you get faster treatment and save you money. You can choose from several companies to provide a full range of coverage.

A third option is to purchase a global health insurance plan. This will allow you to access more doctors, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities around the world.

An important tip for any expatriate is to obtain an EHIC, or European Health Insurance Card. The card will allow you to receive the same level of medical care as an Irish resident.