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More than half of people in Ireland think that healthcare is getting worse

Just 7% of the respondents said that healthcare services are getting better.

ALMOST TWO-THIRDS OF people – 65% – say that Ireland’s healthcare system is getting worse, a new poll has found.

Just 7% of respondents said that healthcare services are getting better. When asked about the current state of the provision of health services in Ireland compared to five years ago, people without insurance, women, and people on lower incomes were most likely to say that the services are worsening.

The poll, conducted by Ireland Thinks/The Good Information Project, found that 27% of people said that the healthcare services are about the same as they were five years ago. 

In terms of age, those aged between 45-54 were most likely to say that the healthcare system is getting worse at 70%, followed by people aged 18-24 and 55-64, both of which were at 68%. 

While most groups overwhelmingly said that services are worsening, respondents earning an income of €80,000 or over were more varied on the matter. 48% of them said that services are getting worse while 41% said they were about the same as five years ago. 9% said that services were getting better.

Every other income group overwhelmingly said that services are worsening. 

More women than men believe that the situation has deteriorated, with 71% of women saying healthcare is getting worse while 24% said it is about the same. 4% of women said that healthcare is getting better.

Healthcare experience

Despite most people saying that services were worsening, responses were split when asked about their own experiences with the healthcare system.

Younger and working class people reported the poorest experiences in healthcare as well as those without private health insurance. 

30% of people said their experience with the system had been good while 26% said it was poor. 11% of the respondents said very poor while 26% said neither good nor poor. 7% said their experience was very good.

Kevin Cunningham, lecturer at TU Dublin and managing director of Ireland Thinks said: “What struck me here is that there’s a relatively balanced view when it comes to experience, but when it comes to the decline in services it tilts much more strongly towards the negative.”

Supporters of the Social Democrats, Solidarity and Sinn Féin were among those with the poorest experiences in Ireland’s healthcare service. 

GP access

In terms of GP care, most people reported easy access when it was needed. However, younger people, renters and those living in Leinster are more likely to find it difficult to access a GP.

When asked if they had easy access to a GP when they needed one, 43% said yes while 27% said most of the time and 14% said sometimes. 5% said not at all, while 10% said not really.

There was a strong preference for in-person GP visits with 77% saying they prefer this over any other type of visit, while 20% said it depended on the circumstances. 2% said they preferred remote consultations. 

In terms of gender, 80% of men preferred in person visits compared to 74% of women.

The poll findings echo the Women’s Health Radical Listening Report 2021 which showed that despite positive experiences with healthcare such as maternity care, women reported feeling unsupported, ashamed and embarrassed. Over 270 women participated and shared their experiences of the Irish health system. Women that took part noted feeling rushed, unheard and feeling that their voice doesn’t matter.

This work is also co-funded by Journal Media and a grant programme from the European Parliament. Any opinions or conclusions expressed in this work are the author’s own. The European Parliament has no involvement in nor responsibility for the editorial content published by the project. For more information, see here

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