Fine Gael are obsessed with economic growth, but for most voters housing and healthcare are the most important issues facing the country. This is borne out by a recent survey in the Sunday Times and a host of previous studies into voter intentions.  How we treat the sick and vulnerable is an important measure of any civilised society.

Mental and physical wellbeing are essential for happy and fulfilled lives, but in our two-tier system, the size of your wallet often plays a crucial role in the level of your healthcare. Take waiting lists in public hospitals as an example.

The National Treatment Purchase Fund keeps definitive figures on the numbers waiting for medical procedures. In June 2018, they revealed that 707,000 people are now waiting for some form of medical intervention – the highest number in the history of the state. Meanwhile, the influential Euro-Health Consumer Index has consistently ranked Ireland as having among the worst hospital outcomes as measured by 48 indicators including, waiting times, patient information, treatment and results.  Tellingly, Ireland ranked 14th in the 2013 ECHI index but has since fallen to 24th despite the extra resources available to the government.

Combined inpatient and outpatient numbers (National Treatment Purchase Fund)15