Survey Shows Hospital Consultants in Ireland Among Highest Paid in the World

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1st July 2014 15:20 - Pharmaceutical

According to new research from the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), hospital consultants in Ireland are still among the highest paid in the world, despite the economic downturn in the country.

Despite this, the Irish actually spend less than any other European country on healthcare (as a proportion of gross domestic product) – although spending is on the increase. According to the OECD figures, Irish spending on health was 8.9% of GDP in 2012, markedly lower than the figure for the United States (16.9%), as well as European countries such as the Netherlands, France, Switzerland and Germany – all of whom allocate around 11% of GDP to healthcare spending.

In terms of individual pay, Irish specialists earn an average of around €171,000 – a higher sum than any other country in the OECD study apart from New Zealand and Luxembourg. Irish specialists are the most highly paid in the OECD apart from Luxembourg when the figures are corrected to reflect local purchasing power – it also sits as twice that of the UK. The data reflects those working in publicly-funded hospitals and ignores income from private practices.

However, the OECD figures have been challenged by the Irish Hospital Consultants Association, which claims the data has a number of inconsistencies and distortions. It is alleged that the data for some countries is reflective of gross pay, whilst figures for other countries utilise net pay. There is also news from groups representing hospital consultants that junior doctors are emigrating out of Ireland due to low pay and a lack of organisation in the healthcare system.

The OECD stated that health spending in Ireland was reduced in 2010 and 2011 as part of the country’s effort to reduce deficits in the budget. Most of these reductions were achieved through a drop in wages and fees paid to professionals, as well as the sums paid from pharmaceutical companies and via staff reductions.

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