Healthcare costs continue to rise

The cost of healthcare rose 3.7% to around €92bn last year, an increase on the 3.2% rise in 2011, according to figures from the central statistics agency CBS.

In a breakdown of the overall figure, the CBS says the cost of care for the old and the handicapped rose 10%, while that for the mentally ill remained roughly the same.

Payments to hospitals and medical specialist practices rose 5.6% and account for a quarter of the total. The CBS says some of this rise is due to a number of expensive medicines now being dispensed by hospitals rather than by chemists.

The cost of childcare fell 5.9% due to a drop in demand.

Healthcare costs accounted for 15.4% of gross domestic product in 2012, compared with 14.8% in 2011. This works out at €5,535 per head of the population.