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Up to 2 GPs needed for every 1,000 HFA homes

Around one or two new GPs and five fully-staffed hospital beds are needed for every 1,000 new houses built under the Housing For All (HFA) development system, according to a new study by the Economic and Social Research Institute.

A HFA development is made up of 30% supported renters, 20% private renters and 50% homeowners.

The ESRI said the tenure composition of new housing developments and demographics plays an important role in determining the level of healthcare demand in the local area in which the development is being constructed.

It said that developments with higher rates of medical card coverage rates among residents, older resident populations, and larger household size, increase demand for healthcare.

It estimates annual demand for almost 11,000 GP visits within a 1,000 home HFA development.

This demand would require 1.5 GP whole time equivalents to provide that care.

The ESRI study estimated annual demand for 300 acute public hospital inpatient admissions within a 1,000 home HFA development.

This equates to almost five fully staffed inpatient beds being required to meet this demand.

The study said that demand for acute public hospital inpatient care is slightly lower in public housing developments, as inpatient care demand correlates strongly with age, and supported renters have a younger age profile than homeowners.

Within a public housing development of 1,000 homes, total GP demand is estimated to be higher at over 12,000 visits per annum.

It says this is largely due to higher GP demand among supported renters who, despite having a relatively young age profile, tend to have higher rates of chronic illness and higher rates of Medical Card and GP visit card coverage, and as a result greater demand for GP care.

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