Press Release

Authoritative OECD Health at a Glance 2007 Report published.

Ireland welcomes the publication, OECD Health at a Glance 2007. It is an authoritative source of comparable data on health and health systems up to and including 2005 in OECD countries.

Health Status
In relation to matters such as life expectancy and infant mortality, Ireland scores well. The report notes that life expectancy in Ireland stands at 79.5 years in 2005. This is above the OECD average of 78.6 and the EU27 average.

Infant mortality rates in Ireland have fallen dramatically over the last few decades. The rate is 4 deaths per 1000 live births in 2005, lower than the OECD average of 5.4.

Ireland ranks high in terms of the percentage of adults reporting to be in good health. 83% of Irish people rated their health to be good or very good or excellent compared with the OECD average of 69%, placing Ireland in 6th position.

Health Expenditure
The report notes that total expenditure on health accounted for 7.5% of GDP in Ireland in 2005. When calculated as a percentage of Gross National Income (GNI), which does not include exported profits, the figure rises to 8.8% which puts Ireland close to the OECD average of 9%. Using the measure of current health expenditure as a share of actual final consumption, Ireland scores above the OECD average with a 13.5% share of final consumption allocated to health compared with an OECD average of 12.8%.

Ireland’s health spending per capita is 2,926 US$ (adjusted for purchasing power parity) which is above the OECD average of 2,759 US$. In terms of the annual average growth rate in real health expenditure per capita between 1995 and 2005, Ireland has the third highest growth rate of 7.2% behind Luxembourg and Korea and ahead of the OECD average of 4%.

The public share of total expenditure on health in Ireland in 2005 was 78%, above the OECD average of 73%.

Ireland had the highest annual average growth rate in pharmaceutical expenditure per capita between 1995 and 2005 at 7.6% compared with an OECD average of 4.6%.

Health Care Resources and Utilisation
The share of population aged 65 and over was 11.2% in 2005, the fourth lowest and well below the OECD average of 14.7%.

The report notes that Ireland has 2.8 acute hospital beds per 1,000 population compared with an OECD average of 3.9. However, the data for Ireland does not include acute beds located in private hospitals and would need to be adjusted to reflect our relatively young population.

The OECD report notes that Ireland is above the average in terms of the number of nurses per 1000 population in 2005. There has been an increase of 45% in the number of whole-time nurses employed in the public health service since 1997.

With regard to medical manpower, the Report shows 2.8 physicians per 1,000 population in Ireland in 2005 which is just below the average for the OECD of 3 per 1,000. A Government initiative on medical education and training, announced in February 2006, will involve a more than doubling of the medical school places for EU students from 305 to 725. An additional 110 EU undergraduate places were provided between 2006 and 2007, and the first 60 graduate entry places were provided in 2007.

Quality of Care
For breast cancer, the five year relative survival rate in Ireland is 79.7% for the period 1999 to 2004 which shows an improvement over the period 1994 to 1998 when the rate was 73%.

The report notes that 63% of the over 65s in Ireland receive the influenza vaccine which is higher than the OECD average of 55.3%. The figure for the UK is 75% and Australia has the highest coverage rate of 79.1%.

The report also shows that Ireland has the second highest alcohol consumption with 13.5 litres per capita for the population aged 15 years and over. The OECD average was 9.5.