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Over half of people believe health cuts have had the biggest impact

The Pfizer survey also found that 31% of adults have neither private insurance nor a medical card.

Image: hospital via Shutterstock

A SURVEY HAS revealed that the majority of people believe cuts in health have had the greatest impact after years of recession and austerity budgets.

More than half (53%) of the 1,000 people questioned for the Pfizer Health Index said health had the greatest impact when contrasted with other cuts in social welfare, education, state pension and transport.

It was mentioned first, second or third by more than 9 in 10 people (93%).

More than a third (36%) believe families with young children have been the hardest hit.

While almost 3 out of 4 adults (72%) believe that they’ve been impacted by austerity budgets.

Older adults were nominated as the group second most likely (47%) to have been impacted by austerity.

​​Economist David McWilliams said, “our economy is showing definite signs of recovery but we need to see sustained and increased growth.

This study found that almost 7 in 10 (69%) people say they are still finding it hard to make ends meet in 2014. The challenge for public policy now is how to capitalise on the recovery in the economy and how to drive that further and faster.

“It also requires a mind shift in how we plan and prioritise public spending – after years of austerity, it is important that policy starts to move quickly away from cost cutting and towards investment”.

Medical Cards

The survey also found that 31% of adults have neither private insurance nor a medical card.

That figure was 23% in 2011.

Since 2010 the proportion of adults holding private medical insurance has declined from 44% of the population to 33% in 2014.

The rate of decline was more pronounced between 2010 and 2012 but has slowed in recent years.

The number of people with medical cards climbed to a high of 44% in 2012, at just under 1.6 million people, but has since retracted to 1.4 million or 39% of the population in 2014.

Professor Charles Normand, Edward Kennedy Chair of Health Policy and Management at Trinity College Dublin, said:

The growth in the population with neither private medical insurance nor a medical card is a key concern and shows that we do need to think about alternative models of healthcare provision such as universal healthcare.

Drinking and Smoking

When asked to assess their own personal health out of ten -where 10 is excellent health and 1 is very poor health – the average volunteered score is 7.9 out of 10.

The number of people smoking is at an all-time low with 25% of adults (aged 16 years plus) currently smoking.

That’s down from 33% in 2012.

​​Dr Anne Nolan, Research Director, The Irish LongituDinal study on Ageing (TILDA), Trinity College Dublin, said that while smoking in down, drinking has increased:

While an improvement in smoking behaviour is welcome, evidence from TILDA suggests that problem drinking has increased over the course of the recession.

She added that physical activity levels have remained low.

Read: ‘Nobody hurt or afraid’ as man throws bottle of cola at Health Minister>

Read: A Fine Gael senator wants to ban caramel Frappucinos>

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