Ireland Slips Down the Rankings in Terms of Health Care Quality

Ireland Slips Down the Rankings in Terms of Health Care Quality

10th March, 2015

The 2014 Euro Health Consumer Index ranks European healthcare systems based on their level of quality. Whilst The Netherlands has extended its position at the top spot, one country that has not faired so well is Ireland. Ireland has tumbled down the rankings slipping eight places from 14th to 22nd. Keeping that in mind, in this post we are going to take a look at the reasons behind Ireland’s disappointing performance in the most recent publication of the health index, whilst also providing valuable details on health care in the country for expats.

Official Waiting List Data Lost Credibility

On the whole, the overall health care performance in Europe has improved, but Ireland was one of a few states to lose ground. One of the main reasons for their bad performance is because its waiting list data was found to have lost credibility.

The index decided to take feedback from patient organisations in regards to waiting times. Typically they would have used the official data provided to them. However, after six years of persistent patient criticism, the index decided it was time to make a change because they deemed the official waiting list data to lack credibility.

Health Index Findings

Head researcher of the Euro Health Consumer Index, Dr Arne Bjornberg, had to following to say about Ireland:

“Ireland is a strange artefact among the healthcare systems of north-western Europe. Patient empowerment is on the level of Romania, waiting times as long as in Sweden and healthcare inequity is evident.”

For those who are unaware, the waiting times in Sweden are long indeed!

Huge Take Up Of Private Medical Insurance In Ireland Hints At Dissatisfaction

Bjornberg also remarked that the popularity of private medical insurance in the country indicates a distinct lack of satisfaction with the public offering. Ireland actually has the highest percentage of population buying duplicate health care insurance – 40 per cent. An increasing number of people have taken out international health insurance or local medical insurance in the country. This hints that they are not satisfied with what is available to them via the public system.

Overview Of The Healthcare System In Ireland

Now you know the reasons why Ireland has slipped down in the Euro Health Consumer Index rankings. For a clearer picture of health care in the country it is vital to look at the way the system operates. The public healthcare system is managed by eight regional health authorities, which the Ministry of Health administers. These authorities take care of costs related to hospitalisation and health care of people on low income. Free health care is available to individuals on a low income with the Medical Card. There are then individuals that have to share the costs of health care, meaning they will pay a proportion whilst receiving partial support from the public healthcare system. You will benefit from the same level of coverage as Irish citizens if you are from the European Economic Area.

Why International Health Insurance?

If you are planning on moving to Ireland you should definitely take out a global medical insurance policy. The fact that most locals have private medical insurance showcases the need to take out a plan yourself. One of the main reasons why insurance is desirable is because the waiting times can be very long when it comes to the public system. You can find yourself waiting weeks and even months for an appointment. This is especially the case because there is a lack of hospital staff and health practitioners in regards to the public healthcare system. Aside from this, another major source of dissatisfaction with the public system is the lack of patient information and empowerment. This is again something that can be solved by taking out a worldwide health insurance plan.

If you have an international medical insurance plan you will be able to avoid the problems that are associated with the public system. Private hospitals in Ireland are of a much better quality. They are not understaffed, as the public hospitals are. Because of this, waiting times are much lower. Your policy will also give you access to the best network of hospitals, facilities and doctors in the region. You can therefore be confident that you are going to receive the best possible level of care.

Purchasing Global Medical Insurance Prior To Your Move

Hopefully you now have a clearer picture regarding the health care offering in Ireland. If you are planning to move to Ireland you should definitely take out an international health insurance plan. Nonetheless, in order to truly reap the benefits you need to make sure that the policy is right for you. There are a lot of factors you need to consider.

Firstly, one of the main reasons for taking out this type of policy is so you will gain access to much better health care. You don’t want to suffer the problems that are experienced in the public hospitals. You want access to the best private medical centres, so you will need to make sure that this is actually the case. Assess the network of hospitals, doctors and facilities to be certain you are satisfied.

Aside from this, you need to make sure that the international health insurance plan is right for your needs specifically. You will have several different cover options to choose from. Generally, these will be split into basic cover, intermediate cover and comprehensive cover. There is no right or wrong type of cover. It is all about determining what is going to be the best for you. Do you just want the peace of mind of being covered in the case of emergency? Or, do you want a policy with more benefits? Sit down and make a list of everything that is a necessity for you before searching for the best plan.

Don’t Let Your Health Care Standards Slip

Ireland may have slipped down the rankings when it comes to the Euro Health Consumer Index 2014, but this does not mean that your standards should slip as well. From long waiting lists to lack of patient information, there are several issues with the public healthcare system and this is only further highlighted by the fact that a huge percentage of the population have purchased private medical insurance. If you are planning to move to Ireland, you should definitely take out an international medical insurance plan before you do so.  By doing this you can be confident that you are getting access to the best network of hospitals, doctors and facilities. After all, you should never cut corners when it comes to something as vital as your health.

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Alison Massey

Group Marketing Director

Now Health International

Alison Massey is a 15-year digital marketing veteran, who has spent the last seven years using social media to help expats and soon to be expats find out what to expect from a life overseas. An expat living in Hong Kong herself, Alison is the Group Marketing Director of Now Health, the award-winning international health insurance provider.

Contact Alison Massey

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