Services - Health and Social Security

The health system is primarily funded from general taxation and is publicly provided although private health care retains a considerable role. Public health expenditure in 1994 amounted to IR£2,085 million or 5.9% of GDP. Private health expenditure was estimated at a further IR£660 million or approximately 2% of GDP. The Department of Health also has responsibility for services such as social work, adoption, child care etc.

The Health Strategy Shaping a Healthier Future, published in 1994, aims to enhance the health and quality of life of the population. In future, it is intended to assess the health care system by its effectiveness; i.e. the benefits received by the users of services, rather than by levels of service. A high degree of emphasis is placed on preventative medicine. In particular, efforts are being made to address the main contributors to premature mortality such as smoking, alcohol abuse, poor nutrition, lack of exercise, etc.

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