Latest health insurance increase exposes failing health of national care system

Ivana Bacik TD
31 January 2024
  • INMO report 12,132 patients, including 278 children, went without a hospital bed this January
  • Ireland to have a deficit of 49,000 nurses by 2041

Questioning Minister Eamon Ryan during Leaders’ Questions today, Labour leader Ivana Bacik demanded an end to the HSE recruitment freeze.

Deputy Bacik said:

“Minister Ryan and his Cabinet colleagues have their heads in the sand when it comes to the crisis in healthcare. Given the positive state of the national public finances, why haven’t we seen the necessary improved delivery in public healthcare?

“Today, the INMO report that 12,132 patients went without a hospital bed this month. Minister Ryan’s response to me in the Dáil today provides no comfort to these patients and those trying to care for them.

“It’s clear that the health system is running to stand still.

“This has been exposed once again by the latest price increases by the health insurer VHI. That hike comes on top of two previous increases in March and October last year. It means people who have private health insurance with the company will have to front up anywhere from an additional €180 up to nearly €700 for just one year.

“In a country with a functioning public health system, this might not be such a huge news story. But given that almost 2.4 million people have health insurance policies in Ireland, this will add even more to the massive cost of living in Ireland for working people.

“Access to affordable, quality healthcare should not be a luxury. But the Government needs to provide adequate investment to ensure that we have a well-functioning public healthcare system. In particular, they need to address the projected deficit of 49,000 nurses by 2041, as reported in the Irish Examiner today. And crucially they need to reverse the disastrous decision to impose a HSE recruitment ban.

“For far too long, there has been an overreliance on the private market to counter the failures of the public system here.

“This Government has abjectly failed to provide affordable, efficient health care to those who need it most. The system is creaking, propped up by hardworking and over-burdened healthcare staff and professionals. We need to see urgent investment by Government to provide the necessary support both to those providing care and to those who need it most.”

Stay up to date

Receive our latest updates in your inbox.
By subscribing you agree to receive emails about our campaigns, policies, appeals and opportunities to get involved. Privacy Policy

Follow us

Connect with us on social media