A leading analyst says Ireland's health service has suffered "the biggest impact" from austerity across the whole of Europe.
Dr Stephen Thomas from Trinity College's Centre for Health Policy and Management made the remarks at an all Ireland Conference on Mental Health and Addiction.
"Ireland has actually suffered the biggest proportionate drop in healthcare across the whole European region.
"We've lost almost 20% of our health funding, and certainly about 11-12% of our staff. We were very surprised to find that, actually, that no other country has experienced that kind of shift.
"It's really very extreme."
He says the public has suffered a "triple whammy" - with more people needing healthcare as services and access to treatment get scaled back.
Dr Thomas says the focus now needs to be on services for the most vulnerable people - while looking towards free GP care in the long term.