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Press Statement


22 June 2022

System of Health Accounts for Ireland 2020

Spending on healthcare in Ireland was €26.5 billion in 2020, up €2.7 billion or 11% on the spending in 2019
  • Healthcare expenditure in Ireland was 12.7% of GNI* in 2020 compared with the OECD average of 9.7% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
  • Between 2019 and 2020 health expenditure increased by 11%, mostly related to COVID-19 spending
  • In 2020, the government financed 79% of healthcare expenditure while private health insurance companies paid for 10%
  • Expenditure within hospitals accounted for 37% of all expenditure on healthcare in 2020
  • There was a 36% increase in spending on preventative care which would include COVID-19 testing expenditure
  • Preliminary data for 2021 shows total expenditure on healthcare was €28.4 billion, of which €2.2 billion was spent by the Government specifically on COVID-19

Go to release: System of Health Accounts 2020

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has today (22 June 2022) released System of Health Accounts 2020.

Commenting on the release, Elaine O'Sullivan, Statistician, said: “As expected, COVID-19 had a dramatic impact on healthcare expenditure in 2020. When comparing 2020 to 2019 we can see how the pandemic impacted the pattern of healthcare expenditure. While Government spending on healthcare increased by 18% in 2020, the spending by Private Health Insurance companies decreased by 14%.


As Ireland’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has increased in recent years, healthcare as a percentage of GDP has dropped below the OECD average. In 2020, health expenditure in Ireland represented 7.1% of GDP, which is below the OECD average of 9.7%. However, the GNI* measure which eliminates globalisation effects, puts it at 11.1%, which might be more useful for international comparison.

Most spending on healthcare was within the hospital setting. Almost €11 billion was spent within hospitals in 2020, 9% more than 2019.

While spending on preventative care is generally quite stable from year to year with, on average, a 10% increase per annum, in 2020 the spending on preventive care increased by 36%. In particular an extra €158 million was spent on early disease detection.

Preliminary results for 2021 show a €2 billion increase in spending or 8% more than in 2020.”


Editor's Note:

Data for 2020 are preliminary and provisional

This is the official publication by the CSO of current health care expenditure for Ireland according to the international standard of the System of Health Accounts, 2011.

For further information contact:

Elaine O Sullivan (+353) 1 498 4203

or email

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