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Universal GP Care in Ireland: Potential Cost Implications


  • Sheelah Connolly

    (Economic and Social Research Institute)

  • Anne Nolan

    (Economic and Social Research Institute)

  • Brendan Walsh

    (Economic and Social Research Institute)

  • Maev-Ann Wren

    (Economic and Social Research Institute)


In 2011, the Government made a commitment to the introduction of universal General Practitioner (GP) care, which they equated to the removal of fees for GP care. The aim of this paper is to quantify the potential cost implications of implementing universal GP care in Ireland. The analysis finds that universal GP care would add between 2 and 3.5 per cent to overall public healthcare expenditure and up to 1.2 per cent to total healthcare expenditure. While the introduction of universal GP care in Ireland would go some way to addressing limitations of the current system, other reforms may be required before universality can be achieved.

Suggested Citation

  • Sheelah Connolly & Anne Nolan & Brendan Walsh & Maev-Ann Wren, 2018. "Universal GP Care in Ireland: Potential Cost Implications," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 49(1), pages 93-109.
  • Handle: RePEc:eso:journl:v:49:y:2018:i:1:p:93-109

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Richard Layte & Anne Nolan, 2015. "Eligibility for free GP care and the utilisation of GP services by children in Ireland," International Journal of Health Economics and Management, Springer, vol. 15(1), pages 3-27, March.
    2. Connolly, Sheelah & Wren, Maev-Ann, 2017. "Unmet healthcare needs in Ireland," Papers RB20170301, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
    3. Nolan, Anne, 2008. "Evaluating the impact of eligibility for free care on the use of general practitioner (GP) services: A difference-in-difference matching approach," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 67(7), pages 1164-1172, October.
    4. Connolly, Sheelah & Wren, Maev-Ann, 2017. "Unmet healthcare needs in Ireland: Analysis using the EU-SILC survey," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 121(4), pages 434-441.
    5. Wren, Maev-Ann & Keegan, Conor & Walsh, Brendan & Bergin, Adele & Eighan, James & Brick, Aoife & Connolly, Sheelah & Watson, Dorothy & Banks, Joanne, 2017. "Projections of demand for healthcare in Ireland, 2015-2030: First report from the Hippocrates Model," Research Series, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), number RS67, December.
    6. Hudson, Eibhlin & Nolan, Anne, 2015. "Public healthcare eligibility and the utilisation of GP services by older people in Ireland," The Journal of the Economics of Ageing, Elsevier, vol. 6(C), pages 24-43.
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    Cited by:

    1. Walsh, Brendan & Nolan, Anne & Brick, Aoife & Keegan, Conor, 2019. "Did the expansion of free GP care impact demand for Emergency Department attendances? A difference-in-differences analysis," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 222(C), pages 101-111.
    2. Mohan, Gretta & Nolan, Anne & Lyons, Seán, 2019. "An investigation of the effect of accessibility to General Practitioner services on healthcare utilisation among older people," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 220(C), pages 254-263.
    3. Gretta Mohan & Anne Nolan, 2020. "The impact of prescription drug co-payments for publicly insured families," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 21(2), pages 261-274, March.
    4. Walsh, Brendan & Wren, Maev-Ann & Smith, Samantha & Lyons, Seán & Eighan, James & Morgenroth, Edgar, 2019. "An analysis of the effects on Irish hospital care of the supply of care inside and outside the hospital," Research Series, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), number RS91, December.

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    GP care; healthcare expenditure; Ireland;


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