Health service and unity debate


Sir, – Contrary to what Brian O’Brien (April 8) suggests that average life expectancy is “the most obviously meaningful measure” of the level of health care provided, the most recent data available on the subject show that “lifestyle” is by far the most important factor. The top three countries, with significantly longer life expectancies than the others, are Hong Kong, Japan and Macao and, as with the other countries that follow them, lifestyle is recognized as the factor that leads to this result. . The other statistic it achieves is the lower Covid death rate suffered here compared to the UK, suggesting that the UK model of universal healthcare was somehow less effective than our two-tier model.

Besides the fact that the government here has effectively nationalized the private sector to maximize efforts to deal with the pandemic, the UK government’s slow response as Covid spreads is the single most likely cause of this gap.

In the context of the debate over whether providing free health care at the point of delivery will influence how people might vote in a border poll, ask a mother with a few children, who can see a doctor for free when needed in the North, how she would vote. The answer is surely obvious.

This is, and will be, a huge issue in any such poll, and many observers believe that universal public health care will have to be part of the eventual unification deal. – Yours, etc.,

Jim O’Sullivan,




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