Essay On Irish Health Policy

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Introduction The objective of this project shall identify the extent to which the principle of equity underpins government strategy in contemporary Irish health policy. In order to examine this principle, the essay will focus on the health services for older people. Such services are an important topic to address in modern day Irish society because the population of those aged over 65 is set to increase considerably which will cause particular economic and social implications for healthcare services in the future. Initially the paper shall provide a foundation of historical developments that have emerged within the Irish Healthcare system and highlight social policy implementations that have occurred. Following this, the paper will go on to discuss 'equity' with emphasis placed on the importance of effective policy measures to safeguard the equity and fair treatment of the elderly within the Irish healthcare system. Inference shall be made to the medical card scheme, hospital bed waiting lists, services for elderly people and the equity issues involving public and private healthcare. It shall also examine government policy papers in terms of how the two-tiered health system shows evidence of inequality that goes against the code of equity sought out by the `Quality and Fairness' (2001) report. Finally this essay will finish with a conclusion of the overall discussion. Historical Developments Until the middle of the ninetieth century, no state income maintenance system existed in Ireland. However under Brehon Law, local rulers provided hospitaller facilities for the sick and homeless (Quin, 1999). There was a tradition instilled that supported age specific care for elderly people in Ireland. However the care of older people change... ... middle of paper ... ... the elderly of Irish society it is also evident that there are issues over medical cards, problems with waiting lists, private consultations fees and shortages of beds as well as a general deterioration of quality of services on offer at care home facilities. Problems in the healthcare system provide incentives that favour the treatment of private patients over public patients. Such differences have effectively consolidated the two-tiered system. Recommendations to eliminate health care inequalities would be to introduce the government's proposal of the universal social health insurance scheme. For this to be achieved citizen engagement is important to abolish the current range of inequalities embedded in the Irish Healthcare system. The principle of equity could then potentially be enhanced and thus create a more equal society not based on money but based on need.

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