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Mortalities due to cancer, heart disease significantly down in last decade

Life expectancy in Ireland has also increased by a full four years since 2000 to reach 80.6 today, over the OECD average, according to a report published today.

Image: cancer survivor via Shutterstock

DEATHS IN IRELAND due to major diseases have reduced significantly in the last ten years, according to a new study.

A report published by the OECD today shows that mortality due to cancer fell by 21 per cent, ischemic heart disease by 59 per cent and cerebrovascular disease by 54 per cent between 1990 and 2011 in Ireland. In all three instances, the rate of decline was greater than the OECD average.

Life expectancy in Ireland has also increased by a full four years since 2000 to reach 80.6 today, over the OECD average of 80.1.

Despite these improvements, the report said the mortality burden from cardiovascular disease and cancer remains high and further gains can be made. Only Israel and Japan saw the rate of health spending growth accelerate since 2009 compared with the previous decade.

“Investments in cost-effective prevention programmes to reduce Ireland’s high rates of smoking, obesity and alcohol consumption could lead to substantial health gain,” it said.

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Annual health expenditure decreased by 6.6 per cent between 2009 and 2011, in stark contrast to the annual growth rates of 7 per cent experienced between 2000 and 2009 – before the economic crash.

There is some praise in the report for the Irish government’s reforms to strengthen primary care with the number of hospital admissions for chronic conditions such as diabetes and asthma coming down over the past few years.

The OECD predicts that the pressure to deliver healthcare more efficiently is likely to persist in ireland in a context of tight budget constraints in the short to medium term.

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Irish expenditure on pharmaceuticals remains well about the OECD average which the report said can be explained, in part, by the low use of generic medications – something that is likely to change over the next number of years.

Across OECD countries, more than 15 per cent of people aged 50 and older provide care for a dependent relative or friend, and most informal carers are women. In 2011, Ireland has the third lowest volume of generics in the pharmaceutical market.

The report also found that more than 15 per cent of people aged 50 and older provide care for a dependent relative or friend, and most informal carers are women.

Read: Twin with breast cancer donates skin and fat tissue to sister who also has cancer>

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