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News / September 29, 2009


by Guy Hiscott

Europe-wide, Ireland’s health service has been ranked 13th out of 33 countries, according to annual survey of EU healthcare, which was presented yesterday in Brussels.

In the space of 12 months, Ireland climbed two positions among the European healthcare systems, according to the Euro Health Consumer Index (EHCI).

Ireland scored 701 points from a potential 1,000 and generally performs rather well at outcomes but quite poorly when it comes to e-health (e.g. e-transfer of medical data between professionals, e-prescriptions, lab tests electronically communicated to patients).

Commenting on the result, Professor Brendan Drumm, CEO of the HSE, said: ‘This year’s ranking shows that our modernisation programme is working. Healthcare staff should be pleased.

‘As we continue to focus on more effective ways of working, we expect that our ranking will continue to improve’.

‘Ireland has been climbing steadily in the EHCI,’ said Dr Arne Björnberg, the Euro Health Consumer Index Director. ‘However, the Irish healthcare system seems to have a domestic “marketing” problem – the responses to the patient organisation survey, which is part of the EHCI research, give a much less positive picture than the official data’.

This year’s measurement indicates that the top performers in European healthcare use healthcare information and choice to engage patients in the decision-making. At the lower end of the ranking, many countries stick to old style healthcare, filled with hierarchies and lack of transparency.

The EHCI has become a measurement standard for European healthcare. It ranks 33 national European health care systems across 38 indicators, covering six areas that are key to the health consumer: patients’ rights and information, e-health, waiting times for treatment, treatment outcomes, range and reach of services provided, and access to medication.

The Index is compiled from a combination of public statistics, patient polls and independent research conducted by the founder, Brussels-based think tank Health Consumer Powerhouse.