Reform needed: Two-tier health service

Reform needed: Two-tier health service

A new study confirms that Ireland’s two-tier health service means that individuals are less likely to get an early diagnosis for a serious illness like a brain tumour if they can’t pay for private diagnostics, when compared to other European countries with universal healthcare systems.

The TASC (Thinktank for Action on Social Change) health report shows that, on average, a patient in Ireland will wait up to 120 days longer for a brain MRI than a patient who accesses the scan privately.

This follows the group’s report last year which showed our health system results in a high proportion of people living in a healthcare “twilight zone” with incomes above the medical card threshold but without private health insurance.

The latest report is a welcome addition to the overall debate on Ireland’s ailing health service. Above all, it gives added urgency to the need for fundamental reform and the necesssity of putting in place a universal, single-tier health service based around the principles of timely access to care, driven by need rather than the ability to pay.

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