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Helpful Links

Below is a selection documents related to government strategy for and independent policy research evaluating the implementation of universal healthcare in Ireland. The international links section contains a selection of documents pertaining to the international knowledgebase for the implementation of universal health coverage.

Irish links


On 1 June 2016, the Dáil agreed to establish a Special Committee -- the Committee on the Future of Healthcare - to achieve cross-party consensus on a single long-term vision for healthcare and the direction of health policy in Ireland.
For information about the Oireachtas Select Committee on Future of Healthcare, please refer to these resources:

Wren, M and Connolly, S. (2016). Challenges in Achieving Universal Healthcare in Ireland. 
The report from the Economic and Social Research Institute reviews the recent policy debate on Irish healthcare reform, examines how universality is defined in healthcare, the rationale for its adoption and approaches to financing universal healthcare.

Connolly, S, and Wren, M. (2016). The 2011 proposal for Universal Health Insurance in Ireland: Potential implications for healthcare expenditure. 
In this article from Health Policy, the authors find that the 2011 Universal Health Insurance plan was too costly and was therefore abandoned by the government as a viable option for Ireland.

Department of the Taoiseach. (2016). A Programme for a Partnership Government. 
The 2016 Programme for Government outlines a number of priorities for healthcare and the health service. Amongst many important priorities, the government is committing to lowering waiting lists, increasing the health budget, enhancing primary care, extending free GP care to all children under the age of 18, enhancing preventive dental care and emergency care.

Cost of healthcare further impoverishing the poor. Irish Medical Times. 12 October 2016. 

The article describes the work of the Future Healthcare Committee and the challenges the health system face in moving toward universal healthcare in Ireland.


Department of Health. (2015). Progress on the first year of our three-year Statement of Strategy 2015 – 2017: Annual report. 
The Annual Report provides updates on a number of health deliverables, including steps toward universal healthcare, set forth by the Department of Health in their three-year strategy.

Department of Health (2015). Profile table of priority areas, actions and deliverables for the period 2015 and 2017. 

The table outlines Minister for Health and the Department of Health’s priorities of the health service over the period 2015-2017. The first progress report on these is in the Annual Report just above.

Economic and Social Research Institute. (2015). An Examination of the Potential Costs of Universal Health Insurance in Ireland. 
The report was commissioned by the Department of Health upon Publication of the White Paper on Universal Health Insurance (UHI) in April 2014. These costings contributed to the decision not to progress with the model of UHI as promised in the 2011 Programme for Government.

Universal healthcare was promised but has not been delivered. The Irish Independent. 21 September 2015. 

The article from the Independent details the lack of progress toward the Irish government’s 2011 goal of moving toward universalism in the healthcare system as well as the shift in language from universal health insurance to universal healthcare.


Department of Health/Crowe Horwath (2014). Thematic Analysis of Submissions in Response to a Public Consultation on the White Paper for Universal Health Insurance. 

The report is a collection and analysis of all public submissions to the government in response to the 2014 White Paper on Universal Health Insurance. It details input from the relevant stakeholders in the broad healthcare system in Ireland, including health service organisations, health insurers, healthcare providers, health policy researchers, advocacy organisations, pharmaceutical companies, and more.

Department of Health (2014). Lynch & Varadkar announce ten key actions for Medical Card System 

The press release announces actions in response to the Expert Panel on Medical Need for Medical Card Eligibility.

Department of Health (2014). The Pathway to Universal Healthcare: White Paper on Universal Health Insurance. 

The White Paper details the 2011 government commitment to the introduction of a single-tier, multi-payer model of healthcare covering both hospital and primary care through universal health insurance. The plan for UHI has since been abandoned.


Department of Health. (2013). The Path to Universal Healthcare – Preliminary Paper on Universal Health Insurance


Department of Health. (2012). Future Health: A Strategic Framework for Reform of the Health Service 2012 - 2015. Dublin. 
The plan for substantial and fundamental reform of Ireland’s health service, detailing the building blocks to reach the goal, of the time, to introduce a single-tier, universal health insurance supported health service


Government of Ireland. (2011). Government for National Recovery 2011-2016 Dublin, Fine Gael/Labour Party 
The Fine Gael/Labour programme for Government published as they entered government in March 2011. The programme commits to the introduction of universal health insurance and the abolishment of the two tier two-tier system of unequal access to healthcare.

International Links


Thomson, S, Evetovits, T, Cylus, J , and Jakab, M. (2016). Monitoring Financial Protection to Assess Progress Towards Universal Health Coverage in Europe. 
The article explains why financial protection (shielding patients from financial hardships when they utilise health services) matters, review ways of measuring it, and ways reporting on it can contribute to the formulation of health policy.

World Bank. (2016). Universal Health Coverage. The hub for all World Bank resources on the topic of universal health coverage. 
The hub for all World Bank resources on the topic of universal health coverage.


WHO. (2015). Fact Sheet no 395: Universal health coverage. 
WHO’s site for basic information about universal health coverage.


The World Bank. (2014). Universal Health Coverage for Inclusive and Sustainable Development. A Synthesis of 11 Country Case Studies. 
A multi-country study to share varied experiences from countries at different stages of adopting and implementing universal health coverage. Synthesizes experiences from 11 countries—Bangladesh, Brazil, Ethiopia, France, Ghana, Indonesia, Japan, Peru, Thailand, Turkey, and Vietnam—in implementing policies and strategies to achieve and sustain UHC. These countries represent diverse geographic and economic conditions, but all have committed to UHC as a key national aspiration and are approaching it in different ways.

2013 & Earlier

The World Bank (2013). Global conference on universal health coverage for inclusive and sustainable growth: a global synthesis report. 

The paper synthesises findings from eleven country cases on UHC including a framework for analysis, emerging lessons from country experiences, global lessons in the political economy and policy process, global lessons in health financing strategy, global lessons in health service delivery and human resources for health, lessons for countries in the four UHC groups, and a future course of action, interspersed with case studies from various countries

WHO. (2013). World Health Report 2013: Research for universal health coverage. 

Report focuses on the importance of research in advancing progress towards universal health coverage. In addition, it identifies the benefits of increased investment in health research by low- and middle-income countries using case studies from around the world, and proposes ways to further strengthen this type of research.

United Nations. (2012). United Nations General Assembly. Adopting consensus text, General Assembly encourages member states to plan, pursue transition of national healthcare systems towards universal coverage. GA/11326 
Notes from 12 December 2012 plenary meeting of the UN General Assembly where a resolution was adopted urging governments to move towards providing all people with access to affordable, quality healthcare services

WHO. (2010). The World Health Report: Health System Financing and the Path to Universal Coverage. 
In this report, the World Health Organization maps out what countries can do to modify their financing systems with the goal of moving toward universal coverage. It provides an action agenda for working toward universal health coverage for countries at all stages of development.

WHO. (2005). World Health Organization 58th World Health Assembly Resolution WHA58.33 Sustainable Health Financing, Universal Coverage and Social Health Insurance 
This WHO resolution urges countries to take steps in a variety venues including healthcare financing, infrastructure, human resources, and more, to facilitate the transition and full implementation of universal health coverage.