Health in Ireland Key Trends 2010

17 December 2010

The Department of Health and Children today (17th December 2010) published Health in Ireland: Key Trends 2010. This is the third edition of this report which presents, in booklet format, a range of data on significant trends in health and health care over the past decade.

Health in Ireland: Key Trends 2010 covers population and health status as well as trends in service provision. It is designed as an easy-to-use reference guide to significant trends in health and health care over the past decade. A number of new tables and graphs have been included on specific topics of importance and/or where new data has been made available. Each section of the booklet has a brief introduction summarising key statistics.

During the past ten years, major improvements in health status and life expectancy are evident in the tables and graphs of this booklet. Also evident is the very significant investment in the health services which has taken place resulting in increased and improved healthcare provision and which has contributed to the gains in the health of the population. The booklet also illustrates areas where significant improvements are required, where continuing health inequalties exist and where new threats to health are emerging.

Examination of trends over a decade also helps to identify the challenges facing health and the health services in the coming years. Issues such as obesity, smoking and alcohol consumption present serious problems and have the potential to undermine many of the gains achieved in recent years. The ageing of the population is already occurring and will increasingly impose additional demands on service capacity and the management of chronic conditions. Ensuring that health inequalities are reduced and that access to services is maintained and improved are major aims. In an economic climate where resources will be severely constrained, improved efficiency, effectiveness and equity at all levels of the health services will be essential in successfully managing these demands.

Key trends include:

Mary Harney, TD, Minister for Health and Children said: “In welcoming this publication, I would like to draw attention to the major improvements in the health of the population and in the delivery of health services which have been achieved over the past ten years. We have seen remarkable gains in life expectancy resulting from large reductions in mortality rates from major causes of death, particularly in the area of circulatory system diseases, where death rates have decreased by 39%. Sustained investment in the health services and the introduction of new and more effective methods of treatment have played a significant part in this success.

"We are now in a period where resources are severely constrained. Protecting and enhancing our health gains and continuing to improve health services will require working both more efficiently and more effectively. An example of our determination to achieve this is provided by the continuing move to day case treatment in our acute hospitals. At 650,000 per year, day cases now outnumber inpatients and have increased by 139% over the last decade. Our ability to measure our health and health services, with the kinds of data provided in this publication, will be increasingly essential in setting priorities and evaluating progress. “

Further key trends, by section of the booklet, are presented below:

Section 1 – Population and Life Expectancy

Chapter 2 – Health of the Population

Chapter 3 – Hospital Care

Chapter 4 – Primary Care and Community Services

Chapter 5 – Health Service Employment

Chapter 6 – Health Service Expenditure

Read the Report