Why troikanomics is bad for our health


Sir, – Your headline states: “Troika raises failures in health spending” and the article highlights the need for corrective action in a number of areas, including reductions in staff costs and in medical cards (Harry McGee, Front page, April 3rd).

In an Irish Times article (Opinion, September 3rd, 2012), I highlighted the reality that the alleged “overspend”, against which this latest assault on the Irish health system has been benchmarked, is a pernicious myth.

There is compelling evidence that “troikanomics” has a systematically negative effect on health status and outcomes. Short-term “savings” drive up public spending on health over the medium term. This same approach runs directly contrary to the pledges of European health ministers – including Ireland – and international health agencies in the 2008 Tallin Charter.

This is not about the medical and nursing professions “doing more with less”, which has generated productivity increases.

What is at issue is a mindset, policy instruments that are blunt and ad hoc, and a degree of interventionism that has had a demonstrably negative effect on health status; especially in peripheral indebted economies such as Ireland, where the effects of poverty, unemployment and access are now putting real pressures on already pressurised capacity.

Medicine is evidence-based; the policies summarised in your report run wholly contrary to the evidence.

Why is the Government acquiescing in them? I note that the Bundestag is to review the report later this month – that figures. – Yours, etc,


Ashford, Co Wicklow.