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Geographic profile of healthcare needs and non-acute healthcare supply in Ireland


Economic & Social Research Institute (ESRI)

Catalogue: Research and Evaluation
Type: Report
Region: Republic of Ireland

There is an unequal supply of community health and social care across counties, with the greater Dublin Commuter Belt and the South East having the lowest supply of primary and community care in Ireland.

The objective of this project is to provide evidence on the supply of care available in the community. This evidence could inform policies, such as Sláintecare, that aim to move care from acute hospitals to the community. This report examines the supply of 10 key non-acute services in Ireland in 2014: GPs, Community Nurses, Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists, Speech & Language Therapists, Podiatrists, Counsellors and Psychologists, Social Workers, Nursing Home Beds, and Home Care Hours. The report compares supply across counties to the national average to identify counties where care supply is particularly scarce. The study adjusts results for healthcare need factors such as age, mortality, disability, and Medical Card holders.

Key Findings

Large inequalities existed for supply of all services examined in 2014, the year for which detailed data analysis was undertaken. In general, healthcare supply was not allocated according to population need. Given that Ireland has not introduced a system of resource allocation based on population need in the years since 2014, such inequalities are likely to persist.

Counties with the highest number of services with supply 10 per cent below the national average:

  • Kildare: 9 services;
  • Meath, Wicklow, and Wexford: 8 services;
  • Kilkenny, Waterford, Clare: 7 services;

Generally, counties in the West and South were less likely to have lower relative supply, though this was not consistent for all services. Supply inequalities remained after adjusting for a broad range of need measures.



Rights: © Public
Suggested citation:

Economic & Social Research Institute (ESRI). (2019) Geographic profile of healthcare needs and non-acute healthcare supply in Ireland [Online]. Available from: [Accessed: 21st September 2019].


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