Austerity and Irish health

From Cormac Ó Gráda:

Dermot and Brendan Walsh have just published a provocative comment in the British Medical Journal on the link between health and austerity  [].

Momentary relief from the deliberations on Anglo!

The comment reads:

Ireland is – after Greece – the country where the post 2008 structural adjustment programme, aka austerity, has been proportionately most severe. Yet there are few indications that this has had a significant adverse effect on basis health indicators.

The crude death rate in 2012 was 6.3 per 1,000 compared with 6.4 in pre-austerity 2007. The suicide rate in 2012 was 12.8 per 100, 000 in 2012 compared with 13.2 in 2007. Admission rates for depressive disorders fell to 117 per 100, 000 in 2012 from 138 in 2007. The percentage distribution of self-assessed health status did not change between 2007 and 2010 (the latest available year).

Overall there is a striking lack of evidence that the major austerity programme implemented since 2007, and the concomitant trebling of the unemployment rate, has had a significant deleterious effect on the health of the Irish population. This evidence needs to be given due weight in international assessments of the impact of economic policies on public health.

The link is hereAccording to The Irish Times, citing the OECD, “Spending on the health system fell by over 5 per cent a year in 2009-2011…”  I should note that you will find significantly more negative results if you look at the experience of Greece with health care services.  By the way, I read some of the recent book Why Austerity Kills but found the level of argumentation to be weak.


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