of delivery, by 2016. Yet, at the moment, timely access to essential healthcare in Ireland is often determined by ability to pay, such as with private insurance. Further, those without medical cards or GP visit cards face high charges for GP care and may put off seeking care when they need it. The benefits of universal health coverage for relieving the economic hardship from seeking care and ensuring prompt access are well recognised and there is a strong international push to achieve this, led by the WHO. In 2005, all WHO member states, including Ireland, committed to achieving universal health coverage. Nevertheless, in the current economic environment, with a 22% cut in the health budget over seven years, high indebtedness and increased demand for health and social care, achieving universal coverage is a challenge. HRB Health Research Awards 2014 – Full list: Page 3 of 21
While there is a government commitment to universalism, much government action since coming to power in 2011 has involved squeezing budgets and transferring the cost of care from the State to the people. This research adapts and applies to Ireland new international methods for assessing the progress made towards universal access to health care and measuring the gap with universalisation. It also appraises options for getting there, reviewing international case studies and assessing and modelling options according to key criteria such as cost, requirements and complexity. Finally the research identifies the challenges likely to be faced, by assessing international experiences and evaluates whether and to what extent the current systems of organisation have the necessary capacity and flexibility to deliver their stated objectives. This evidence will help inform decision making and progress Ireland towards universal access, free at the point of delivery, for all the population. 6. Title An inter-sectoral analysis by geographic area of the need for and the supply and utilisation of health services in Ireland Principal Investigator Dr Samantha Smith, Economic and Social Research Institute Project Lay Summary The objective of this study is to provide an understanding of the supply of and interaction between health and social care services delivered in different sectors (acute hospitals: primary and community care; long-term care; informal care at home) in Ireland to inform the Government’s policy of transferring activity and resources from the acute hospital system to other settings. This project will analyse the relative importance of factors within and outside acute hospitals that determine inpatient length of stay. While earlier studies included hospital and patient characteristics in analysing Irish hospital performance (Gannon 2008;O'Reilly et al. 2009;Keegan and Smith 2013), this will be the first Irish study to include the supply of and need for care outside hospitals in analysis of hospital performance. Policy measures to improve hospital efficiency, if designed without such
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- Summer '07
- The Giver, Universal health care, Health Research Awards