Kildare Census: Healthy population despite below average numbers of GPs

The Census 2016 profile

Paula Campbell

Reporter:

Paula Campbell

Email:

paula@leinsterleader.ie

Kildare Census: Healthy population despite below average numbers of GPs

Marie Kane, Declan Nolan, Sarah Shakespeare, Allan Shine, Cllr Mark Wall and Susan Bookle

There are low levels of GP practices in the Lilywhite county, according to the Kildare Census 2016 profile.

Kildare is lagging behind the national average with 81 GP practices in the county.

This number equates to a rate of 0.36 practices per 1,000 population which is considerably lower than the State at 0.41 practices per 1,000.

There are also low levels of HSE-listed Health Centres in Kildare.

In total, the Census 2016 profile lists 17 HSE Health Centres in Kildare, and this equates to a rate of 0.08 centres per 1,000 population.

Again, this number is lower than the national average at 0.16 centres per 1,000 population.

In 2017, there were 69,358 eligible persons in the Kildare West Wicklow area with a medical card. The Kildare West Wicklow Local Health Area recorded the sixth highest number of eligible persons with a medical card in the State.

In response to a query from the Leinster Leader regarding the low levels of GP practices in Kildare, the HSE stated that a review of the Kildare West Wicklow area will take place this year.

“The HSE Community Healthcare Organisation Dublin South and Kildare West Wicklow is committed to analysing the capacity of GPs across the area to meet demand. It is anticipated that this analysis will begin before the end of 2018.”

One figure that is higher than the State average is the amount of nursing homes in Kildare.

There are 23 nursing homes, which is the equivalent of 1.05 facilities per 1,000 population over 65 years.

This figure is higher than the State average with 0.91 facilities for the over-65s.

Since 2015, the number of nursing homes in Kildare has remained unchanged at 23.

In contrast, according to Census 2016, between 2011 and 2016 there has been a 32% increase in the population aged 65 and over.

Census 2016 outlines that 63.1 per cent of Kildare’s population, however, report their health status as “very good”.

This is higher than the State average, and it is the third highest rate.

A further 26.4% reported their health as ‘good’, while 6.8% reported their health as ‘fair’.

Moreover, relative to other local authorities, Kildare does not have very high rates of its population with ‘very bad health’.

At 1.7 per cent, a total of 2,527 of the resident population in Kildare have ‘bad’ health — the sixth lowest in the State — and 549 have ‘very bad’ health — the seven lowest in the State.

Healthy towns

According Census 2016, the total population experiencing very good health residing in Kildare is 140, 042, and accounts for 63.1 per cent of the population.

The highest rates recorded are in Naas (65.2%); Maynooth (65.1%) and Celbridge/ Leixlip (64.2%).

In contrast, lower levels of health were reported in Kildare town, Newbridge, and Athy (60.2%).

Across the county, the highest rates are recorded in Caragh (79.5%), Johnstown (74. 1%) and Athgarvan (71.3%).

There are 27,768 people in Kildare with a disability, making it the sixth highest number in the State and the fourth lowest relative to population size.

Since 2011, there has been an increase of 13 per cent or 3,3999, with 49.4% male and 50.5% female.

This increasing trend is in line with the State at 13%.

Of those with a disability, the most common was listed as ‘chronic illness’ at 17.1 per cent.

This was followed by 13.1% with a physical limitation and 9.4% with a difficulty going outside the home. The least common reported disability was blindness or impaired vision, with 2.9% listed.

However, Kildare has higher than average rates of intellectual disability at 4.1%.

There were 21 deaths by suicide in Kildare in 2016 at a rate of 9.4 persons per 100,000 population, which was higher than the State average at 8.4 persons.

Of those recorded, a much higher rate of instances recorded in Kildare were in the older age bracket of 45 to 54 and 55 and over.

Female self-harm hospital presentations in the Kildare West Wicklow Local Health Office exceeded the State average in 2016.

A rate of 240 per 100,000 female population was recorded for the area, making it the sixth highest rate in the State.

Male presentations 171 were marginally below the State average of 184 and ranked as the 11th highest rate per 100,000 male population.

Meanwhile, Kildare has relatively low rates of alcohol and drug addiction.

In 2015, Kildare recorded 182 persons or a rate of 8.2 persons per 10,000 population in treatment for alcohol addiction, the fourth lowest in the State.

Drugs

For the same period Kildare had a rate of 7.2 persons per 100,000 population in treatment for drug addiction.

The majority of treatment was provided for three drug types — opiates (49.1 per cent); cannabis (30.4 per cent) and cocaine (14.3 per cent).