There is “considerable regional inequality” in the supply of non-acute healthcare services, according to new research from the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) and the Health Research Board.
In a newly published report, the institute finds that the geographic distribution of primary, community, and long-term health care services in Ireland is “unequal” even after controlling for healthcare need factors.
The study compared the supply of ten non-acute healthcare services across the country, including GPs, public health nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, social workers, and long-term care.
It found that Kildare, Meath, Wexford, and Wicklow are the most undersupplied counties, whilst Sligo, Cork and Galway are among the best supplied when compared to the national average. Dublin, meanwhile, has a levels of service provision similar to national averages.
The report highlights several policy implications arising from the current distribution of primary, community, and long-term care services across the country. Chief among these is the implications for Sláintecare. It notes the need for a “reform of allocation mechanisms” to ensure that there is sufficient capacity in non-acute health service lest the successful implementation of Sláintecare be impeded.
To this end the report states that “considerable increases in supply of non-acute care” would be required to ensure “equity” in service levels across the State. It also called for more data to be collected to aid and enhance analysis of service provision levels in the future.
You can read the report HERE.