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?150,000 pay puts hospital consultants on top of world

IRISH hospital consultants earn five times the average income here compared to twice the average income in Norway and three times in Germany.

IRISH hospital consultants earn five times the average income here, a new report shows.

This compares with just twice the average income in Norway and just under three times in Germany.

The finding emerges in a report by the Organisation of European Cooperation and Development (OECD).

It shows Irish consultants earn ?150,000 a year in state salaries.

This does not include additional income from private practice which can be higher again.

The report finds that Irish hospital consultants have the highest relative earnings of all specialists among 12 countries surveyed.

TOP-UP INCOME

The statistics are revealed in the latest edition of Health at a Glance, a biennial publication from the international think-tank, which provides a wide range of comparative figures concerning health status, risk factors and healthcare resources .

This is the first time it includes information about the physician workforce and the report comes as hospital consultants in Ireland prepare to enter talks later this month on a new pay and conditions work contract.

Other data shows health spending here is still at the lower end of the table although it slightly above the OECD average.

On hospital overcrowding, Ireland is among the worst and we rank with Norway, Switzerland, Canada and the UK for having the highest occupancy rates at around 85pc.

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"These are all countries where acute care beds per capita are below the OECD average," said the report.

Ireland is sixth from the bottom for the ratio of acute care beds to 1,000 population, coming in at just 3 per 1,000 compared with 12.3 in Germany.

The physician workforce varies across countries, from highs of more than 4 doctors per 1,000 population in Italy and Greece, with fewer in Japan, Canada, the UK, New Zealand and the US, and fewer than 2 per 1,000 population in Turkey, Mexico and Korea.

In Ireland it is 2.6 per 1,000. There are five nurses to every hospital doctor in Ireland compared with one per doctor in Greece.

It highlighted how OECD countries spend only 3pc of healthcare budgets on prevention and public awareness campaigns.

This is despite evidence that national health campaigns encouraging people to be immunised against influenza and discouraging overuse of alcohol and cigarettes are less expensive than curing the diseases they cause.

The report pointed out statistics showing that life-style changes can make people healthier and reduce healthcare costs in the long run.

OBESITY WARNING

Life-style choices contribute to heart diseases and strokes, which are the cause of death for 38pc of people in OECD countries, the report said.

Health at a Glance warned that increasing obesity could counteract the trend of falling death rates due to heart disease and strokes over the past 40 years in most OECD countries.

More than 50pc of adults are now defined as either being overweight or obese in 10 OECD countries: the US, Mexico, the UK, Australia, the Slovak Republic, Greece, New Zealand, Hungary, Luxembourg and the Czech Republic.

As obesity is a risk factor for hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, heart diseases, stroke, asthma, arthritis and some forms of cancer, the rise in obesity over the past two decades could mean higher healthcare costs in the future, it warned.


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