Report warns of spike in demand for healthcare as population ages

It says demand for public hospital services is set to increase by up to 37%

Report warns of spike in demand for healthcare as population ages

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A new report is projecting a substantial increase in demand for healthcare in Ireland over the next 15 years.

The Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) says these projections are based on estimated population growth - the first to be taken from the 2016 Census.

It says that between 2015 and 2030, the population of Ireland is expected to grow by between 14 to 23% - adding 640,000 to 1.1 million people.

The share of population aged 65 and over is set to increase from one-in-eight to one-in-six, while numbers of people aged 85 and over are projected to almost double.

It says demand for health and social care is predicted to increase across all sectors, with the greatest increases for services for older people.

Demand for home help care and for residential and intermediate care places in nursing homes is projected to increase by up to 54%.

While demand for public hospital services is set to increase by up to 37% for inpatient bed days and up to 30% for inpatient cases.

The ESRI says demand for GP visits is also set to increase by up to 27%.

Dr Maev-Ann Wren is ESRI senior research officer and lead author of the report.

She says: "This research shows that expansion will be required in most forms of care to meet the needs of a rapidly growing and ageing population".

While Health Minister Simon Harris says: "I have long been of the view that we need to increase capacity in our health services, but that this must be done in an evidence-based manner.

"I welcome the publication of this report, and the development of the underlying projection model upon which the analysis and findings are based.

"My department’s collaboration with the ESRI, and the work already underway on the bed capacity review, signifies our commitment to integrate relevant, high-quality evidence into the fabric of our planning and decision making, so that we can create better health and social care services in the years and decades ahead."

Read the report in full here