Ireland’s hospitals and health system are plagued by long waiting lists and poor patient outcomes, even though we are told we spend more for healthcare per person than the vast majority of countries.
In a survey of 37 countries by the OECD, Ireland ranks seventh overall when it comes to per-capita spending on healthcare - sandwiched between Sweden in sixth and Austria in eighth.
The picture is complicated, however, and Irish spending in terms of percentage of GDP is actually well below average.
So are we really getting poor value from the money that we spend on healthcare, or is our apparently high per-capita spend simply the result of the extremely high cost of living and doing business in this country?
Is it possible to get a clearer picture on the value for money delivered by the HSE and our hospitals? And are there lessons we could learn from countries like Sweden and Austria, who spend very similar amounts per head of population to us?
HELP US INVESTIGATE
In this ambitious project, we will explore what’s right and what’s wrong about Ireland’s existing health service, and how we got to the current point of system overload.
We will also investigate how two other countries, Sweden and Austria, run their health services - and look at if Ireland could really get better value for the significant money it spends on healthcare each year.