Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 September 2014

Quarter lack emergency health cover

Almost a quarter of people have no medical emergency cover, figures reveal

Almost a quarter of the Irish adult population do not have cover for medical emergencies.

Latest figures revealed 41% had private health insurance at the end of last year, with another 30% in receipt of the medical card, and 6% having both.

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) said the proportion of men and women with medical cards rose as unemployment soared over the last three years - from 24% to 31% for men and 34% to 41% for women.

The number of non-Irish nationals with medical card cover doubled from 16% to 34%.

The quarterly national household survey also revealed more men relied solely on general public health cover than women, with 26% of men not having either a medical card or private health insurance, compared with a fifth of women.

The CSO survey found hospital waiting lists rose to 8% towards the end of last year, from 6% in 2007.

People with a disability were more likely to be in need of tests or treatment, with 14% on an out-patient waiting list, 5% on an in-patient waiting list and 3% waiting for a day-care procedure.

Figures revealed 13% of all people had been on an out-patient waiting list for at least 12 months. On average, those on an in-patient waiting list reported the longest wait - with 40% reporting a wait of less than three months and 21% reporting waiting times of 12 months or more.

Elsewhere the CSO revealed eight out of 10 adults reported being happy all or most of the time last year despite the recession.

Some 87% perceived their own health was good or better, while 44% of women and 40% of men had at least one condition. Hypertension, chronic back pain and high cholesterol were the most common ailments reported.

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