Research programme in healthcare reform

The Research Programme in Healthcare Reform is a programme agreed between the Department of Health and the ESRI, which commenced in July 2014 and has recently been extended to 2024. The broad objectives of the programme are to apply economic analysis to explore issues in relation to health services, health spending and population health, in order to inform the development of health policy and the Government’s healthcare reform agenda.

The first major publication of the research programme involved an examination of the cost implications of a change to a multi-payer, Universal Health Insurance model, as proposed in the 2014 White Paper on Universal Health Insurance (UHI), “The Path to Universal Healthcare”. This research was published in November 2015 as ESRI Research Series Report 45 “An Examination of the Potential Costs of Universal Health Insurance in Ireland”.

The next major phase of the programme was the development in the years from 2015 to 2017 of the demand phase of the Hippocrates projection model for healthcare demand and expenditure. Projections of demand from 2015 to 2030 were published in October 2017 as ESRI Research Series Report 67 “Projections of demand for healthcare in Ireland, 2015-2030: First report from the Hippocrates Model”. This report was based on new ESRI projections for population growth, the first to be published based on the 2016 Census. The report contained the most comprehensive mapping of public and private activity in the Irish healthcare system to have been published. The main findings of the report were that the population of Ireland was projected to grow by between 14 to 23 per cent with the share of population aged 65 and over projected to increase from one in eight to one in five; while demand for health and social care was projected to increase across all sectors, with the greatest increases for services for older people.