Press Release

Department of Health publishes Health in Ireland Key Trends 2016

Health in Ireland Key Trends gives us insights into trends in demographics, population health, hospital and primary care and health service employment and expenditure.

The presentation of trend data over the last decade in the 2016 report highlights the many significant achievements that Ireland has made in terms of key outcomes relating to the health and wellbeing of the population. However, it also highlights the challenges that persist in terms of the accessibility of timely healthcare and in the context of increased demand.

In the last decade alone, there has been an increase of almost two and a half years in life expectancy. These gains are driven largely by reductions in mortality rates from principal causes of deaths such as those from heart disease and cancer.

Another striking feature is the growth in the number of people aged over 65. Each year this cohort increases by almost 20,000 people. This trend is set to continue into the future and will have implications for future planning and health service delivery. The largest proportional increases in the population in Ireland will be in the category of those aged 85 years and older.

Ageing of the population in conjunction with lifestyle-related health threats continue to present major challenges now and into the future in sustaining and further improving health and health services in Ireland. Although difficult to quantify, the contribution of modern health services to these improvements in health outcomes and in life expectancy have been significant.

Ireland’s fertility rates still continue to be among the highest in Europe. However in Ireland the birth rate has now fallen to its lowest rate for the last decade.

While there are fewer inpatient hospital beds than a decade ago, there has been a 43% increase in day beds and a shorter length of stay. This shows Ireland is using its capacity more efficiently.

This year the numbers employed in the public health service have increased, with the numbers of employees increasing across most grade categories.

Detailed information on the Key Trends is available here