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Healthcare September 2016

Published: Oct 14, 2016
  • A confidential report has revealed that the cost of construction and capital allocations to provide an additional hospital bed are now €325,000.  This does not include equipment costs.  Operating costs per year to run the bed come in at €78,000, however this varies depending on intensity of care.
  • It is widely expected that Michael Noonan, Minister for Finance is set to introduce a sugar tax in October’s budget, but delay application until 2018.  This follows a similar announcement by the UK earlier in the year.  60% of men and 50% of women in Ireland are overweight or obese and it is hoped the sugar tax will contribute towards tackling the problem.
  • There are 4,000 elderly and ill people waiting for their home-help and homecare package.  This is despite Simon Harris the Minister for Health announcing an extra €40m for these services in June 2016.  The extra money could provide 270,000 additional home-help hours and 2,000 extra homecare packages.  The charity Alone says that home-help hours have been cut by 1.58m over the last 6 years, despite the ageing population raising 18% in the same period.
  • Senior Management posts in the HSE have increased by 40% since 2012 drawing criticism from quarters concerned about the longer and longer waiting lists, trolley waits that patients have to endure, along with a severe recruitment embargo on nurses and doctors.  This year alone accounts for a 14% rise in senior managers, yet there was just a 3% increase in nursing staff during the year to date.
  • Pfizer has been given permission by South Dublin County Council to proceed with its €500m expansion in Dublin. 
  • Minister for Health Simon Harris helped launch the government’s new health initiative called A Healthy Weight for Ireland, Obesity Policy and Action Plan 2016 – 2025.   It comes on the back of research showing that the amount of overweight or obese people in Ireland has doubled in 20 years with just 4-in-10 people having a healthy weight.  1-in-4 children are also overweight or obese.  Some of the main points include:
    • New healthy eating guidelines
    • Working with the food and drink industry to agree reformulating unhealthy food
    • Introduce a sugar-tax
    • Work with the food and drink industry for a voluntary code on advertising
    • Calorie counts to be displayed on all menus by 2017 end.
  • Irish Life Health is a new player in the health insurance industry in Ireland.  It came about following Irish Life taking over Aviva Health, and purchasing the remainder of GloHealth that was not in its possession already meaning the new health insurance company owns a 21% market share.  Aviva & GloHealth will now faze out.   

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