Written Answers. - Health Expenditure.

Olivia Mitchell

Question:

292 Ms O. Mitchell asked the Minister for Health and Children the percentage of GNP spent on health; the way in which Ireland compares to other EU countries; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10682/03]

Based on departmental estimates, health spending accounts for 8.59% of gross national product in 2003. Figures for comparison between EU countries are compiled by the OECD. Figures comparing GNP are not available, however, the most recent data available from the OECD for public expenditure on health as a percentage of gross domestic product are from the year 2000. At that time the EU average, excluding Luxembourg and Sweden, was 5.9%, with Ireland at 5.1%. The OECD will publish data for 2001 during the summer. Given the significant additional spending on health services in 2001 and 2002, it is expected that Ireland will have made considerable progress towards the EU average by the end of 2002.