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Social Care in Ireland Essay

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Updated: Oct 12th, 2019

Health and social care in Ireland including such issues like nursing, counseling, and social work are influenced by several factors, and one of the most important is unbelievable increase of older population that is in need of various types of care (O’Connor 35).

In fact, this factor creates a number of challenges for the Irish government as certain financial pressure takes place as well as difficulties with check the quality of care provided for people.

To overcome the problems which appear in the country, three funding models which are private, public, and mixed are offered to society in order to choose the most appropriate methods of care improvement and provide older population of different categories with the required portion of professional help.

Improving quality of life of Irish citizens requires the government to evaluate the already existing public policies, analyse social welfare, and consider the integrated structures by means of which people are free to get the necessary help; Ireland is the country where older population is increased considerably on a daily basis, this is why it is crucially important to investigate the sphere of social and health care and improve the conditions under which people have to live.

Social Policy and Health Care System in Ireland

Social care is the sphere of life where people work in order to provide citizens with the necessary living conditions and help those who suffer from marginalisation or inabilities to meet their social needs.

Quality care is an important issue in human life, this is why it is crucial to develop new ideas, methods, and standards under which people may feel safe and sound for a long period of time. Under current conditions, not all Irish people may allow themselves receiving the best services and improve their well-being accordance with their demands.

The health care system undergoes numerous changes due to the fact that older population rates increase considerably within a short period of time (Murphy 478). Facing this fact, the government of Ireland has to re-evaluate its incomes and improve the rates of health care spending of GDP on health care.

In the chart offered below, it is clear that the achievements of Ireland in 2008 are rather impressive in comparison to the achievements demonstrated by such countries like the United Kingdom or Hungary. These rates prove that Ireland is the country that is ready to work at improvement of its social and health care and define the needs of citizens.

Older people rates have been increased for 10% during the last years (Mcilfatrick et al. 351). In spite of the fact that social care prospects at the beginning of the 21st century are directed to quality of life but not to longer life, the citizens of Ireland show that it is also necessary to take care of quality life among people who live long.

New investigations and discoveries, the impact of globalisation, and the desire to create good perspectives for better future make people neglect the idea of quality services.

For some period of time, health policy for older people was not that successful and effective, however, now the results of care offered to people turn out to be rather impressive: “for men, life expectancy at age 65 has risen from 13,8 years in 1995-1997 to 15,4 years in 2001-2003, with a corresponding increase for women from 17,4 years to 18,7 years” (Hodgins and McKenna 22).

Funding Models in Ireland

According to Brennan, each citizen should have the right for equal health and social care, unfortunately, it is not always possible to control the system under which social workers have to complete their tasks.

In other words, the author admits that structural challenges are usually the most difficult for the Irish people to be overcome (Brennan 24). Financial management and improvement of the cost system should help the country to change the situation.

For example, government-funded health care services may be used to elaborate properly public funding. This is why health and social care in Ireland has to be based on properly organized systems or funding models which will help older population get the necessary help. There are three types of funding models in health and social care system:

System Public System Private System Mixed System
Financial aspect of services All services are offered for free Citizens have to pay for services they get In addition to free medical services, citizens may pay to get another type of help or improve the conditions
Availability 24/7 According to the working schedule of the organization 24/7
Quality Not the highest quality is usually offered, still, not the lowest High quality services are usually offered Quality varies
Services People are limited with the skills and knowledge to be used while offering services Social and medical workers are free to enlarge their knowledge and improve skills accordingly Variety of possibilities for medical and social workers is available

All citizens of Ireland are free to use the benefits of the public health care system that is usually funded by general taxation.

However, Ireland continues facing certain challenges providing quality services because of considerably increasing aging population. This is why it is very important to focus on the basic ideas of the Irish health care services which, in comparison to the services of other counties, include social care services as well (O’Connor 35).

Still, Irish citizens may also face a challenge to pay some subsidised fee in order to receive appropriate service. In spite of the fact that people may use free health care services, they still need to pay for emergency calls and buy medicines. This is the example of mixed model of social provision under which the vast majority of citizens have to live in Ireland.

Health and social care system is based on the hospitals which are available to the citizens. Nowadays, there are many private hospitals and other organizations where people are not able to get free treatment any time they need.

In Ireland, old people are divided into two main categories: one category of people who have medical cards is able to get any kind of treatment free, and another category of people without medical cards cannot receive services for free in private hospitals, still, they may expect to get help in public hospitals.

Public hospitals and other organizations where appropriate health and social services are offered remain to be free for all citizens of Ireland. Though much attention is paid to young citizens and the promotion of such organizations like Positive Care Ireland for children whose behaviour introduces a kind of challenge in the world, the government finds it obligatory to concentrate on older population of the country and think about quality services which may help to save and prolong human lives.

Public systems consider a number of factors, and poverty rate is one of them. Poor older people, who have to live on low incomes, are not able to get medical services in time, and this group of people usually has some chronic diseases which limit considerably human activities.

It has been already stated that poverty is the problem to be fight against in Ireland (Hodgins and McKenna 23), this is the future prospects seem to be rather impressive and effective for older population.

Old People Care: Importance of Medical Cards

The vast majority of older people in Ireland get an access to medical cards which make it possible to use different medical and social services to improve living conditions. In the graphic that follows below, it is possible to observe which services become available for people who receive medical cards.

People, who do not have medical cards, are not always able to get free quality medical care but have to address some private organizations.


Health and social care in Ireland is a complicated issue for evaluation. The conditions under which people have to live and work do not usually promote quality services, this is why the Irish government has to take care of proper funding and analysis of the achievements by means of medical reports and identification of citizens’ needs.

The investigations of different writers show that the improvements made during the last decade are rather impressive; this is why there is always a chance to find another way to improve the health care system and provide older population with quality services.

Works Cited

Brennan, Niamh. Commission on financial management and control systems in the health service. Dublin: Stationary Office, 2003.

Hodgins, Margaret and McKenna, Verna. “Social welfare, housing and health policy and the determinants of quality of life for older people in the Republic of Ireland.” Quality in Ageing and Older Adults 11.2. (Jun. 2010): 19-28.

Mcilfatrick, Sonia, McKenna, Hugh, Gray, Ann-Marie, and Hids, Mary. “Health and social care futures in Ireland: The need for cross-boundary work.” Journal of Clinical Nursing 11.3 (May 2002): 349-356.

Murphy, Kathy. “A qualitative study explaining nurses’ perceptions of quality care for older people in long-term care settings in Ireland.” Journal of Clinical Nursing 16.3 (Mar. 2007): 477-485.

O’Connor, Irene. “Ensuring high quality health and social care for our older population: Residential care in Ireland as a case example.” Quality of Ageing 10.3 (Sep. 2009): 34-43.

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