Past, Present and Future of Patient Payment in the Irish Healthcare System

28 Mar 2019
Presenters from the UK, Spain and Ireland at the 'Paying for Health Care' Workshop


The Irish health system has often been criticised as being a ‘two-tier’ system, which favours privately insured patients over public patients. Although this description does not capture all the nuances of the system, it is reasonable to suggest that the Irish health system contains a number of inequities, partly arising from a combination – and interaction – of different funding mechanisms.

Workshop on the Past, Present & Future of Patient Payment in Irish Healthcare

This half-day workshop examined the role of different funding mechanisms for healthcare, with a view to informing policy-makers on a more equitable way forward. It provided multidisciplinary insights into the issue of paying for health in Ireland, drawing on a number of perspectives including economics, history, social policy and public health, while also drawing on international comparisons. The workshop brought together academics and policy-makers to present work on, and discuss, issues related to how we pay for healthcare, with a particular focus on the role of health insurance.

Participants from Ireland, the UK and Spain presented eight papers on a range of topics including the history of universal heath care; the costs of healthcare in contemporary Europe; paying for health in Ireland (historical and economic perspectives); and access to healthcare, private health insurance and inequity.

The workshop was organised by Dr. Brian Turner and Dr. Sean Lucy and hosted by the ISS21 Society, Health and Political Economy (SHAPE) Research Cluster and the College of Business and Law.

Papers Presented at the Workshop:

Prof Martin Gorsky (London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine) The International Labour Organisation, patient payment and universal health coverage

Dr Sarah Thomson (European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies) Can people afford to pay for health care in Europe?

Dr Seán Lucey (University College Cork) Historical perspectives on patient payment for hospital care in Ireland prior to health insurance

Dr Brian Turner (University College Cork) The past, present and future of private health insurance in Ireland

Prof John Browne (University College Cork) The influence of partial public reimbursement on vaccination uptake in the older population: a cross-sectional study

Dr Sheelah Connolly (Economic & Social Research Institute) Implications of different funding mechanisms on accessing healthcare services in Ireland

Dr Julien Mercille (University College Dublin) Explaining privatization in the Irish healthcare sector: the case of hospitals and primary care centres

Tony O’Brien (Former Health Service Executive Director General) Health funding in Ireland - Lessons from the Angry Birds

Institute for Social Science in the 21st Century (ISS21)

Top Floor, Carrigbawn/Safari Building, Donovan Road, Cork, T12 YE30