Population over 65 to double in 30 years
MORE Irish people are enjoying longer life expectancy because of the advances in the treatment of heart disease and cancer, according to a report on health trends in Ireland.
The report from the Department of Health said each year the number of people aged over 65 years grew by 20,000.
"The population over 65 years will double in the next 30 years with evident implications for health planning," it added.
The report said the improvements were largely due to lower mortality and better survival from conditions such as heart disease and cancer.
"The contribution of modern health services to this achievement has been of unquestionable significance."
The report highlighted the big rise in the numbers qualifying for a medical card, with the figures rising by 9pc between 2009 and 2010.
Total public non-capital spending on health rose by 72.7pc since 2002 but it fell by 5.2pc between 2010 and 2011.