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New government is to introduce universal primary care for Ireland

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.d1825 (Published 21 March 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d1825
  1. Muiris Houston
  1. 1Galway

In a substantial change to health policy, a newly elected Irish government has said it will implement a universal single tier health service by 2016. It said the move will guarantee access to medical care based on clinical need rather than an ability to pay.

Currently some 40% of the population receive free GP care with the remainder paying privately to see a doctor and for prescription medicines. Although free hospital care is available to all, in practice lengthening waiting times meant many people took out health insurance, which bought them quicker access to private hospital investigations and procedures. …

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