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Irish health spending one of the lowest in western Europe, consultants among the best paid in the world

Ireland lags behind the US and most of western Europe in health spend to GDP ratio.

Image: Doctor via Shutterstock

IRISH HOSPITAL CONSULTANTS remain among the best paid in Europe, despite swingeing cuts to the health budget.

That is the finding of the latest Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) statistics on health spending.

Overall, 2013 saw health spending begin to start creeping back upwards in the OECD countries.

The OECD says total health spending in Ireland was 8.9% of GDP in 2012, lower than the 16.9% in the US and spendings of over 11% in the Netherlands, France, Switzerland and Germany.

It adds that Irish consultants are the best paid in the OECD, bar Luxembourg and New Zealand, which both have higher costs of living.

Irish consultants earned an average €171,000 last year according to the study. That is almost double what Britain’s public consultants are paid. Consultants’ pay was cut by almost a third in 2012, though this may soon be reversed because of difficulties filling posts.

Ireland drastically cut health spending in 2010 and 2011, the figures show, mostly through cuts in fees paid to professionals and pharmaceutical companies and reductions in staff numbers.

The HSE says that their budget is set by the Department for Health, so they cannot comment on the level of health spending.

The Irish Hospital Consultants Association did not respond to a request for comment.

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