Editor's Choice Editor’s Choice

Health and the economic crisis

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f4140 (Published 26 June 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f4140

Re: Health and the economic crisis

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 implementd since 2007, and the concomitant trebling of the inemployment 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.

Competing interests: No competing interests

28 June 2013
Dermot Walsh
Consultant Psychiatrist
Brendan Walsh
Health Research Board
42-47 Lower Mount Street, Dublin,2