25th May 2021

Oncologist warns Covid disruption to diagnosis and treatment could increase cancer mortality for “next decade”

Consultant medical oncologist Professor Seamus O’Reilly says pandemic has “enormous implications” for “time-dependent” cancer care; Health service will struggle to cope with backlog of patients without hiring additional oncologists and other medical specialists; 1 in 5 Hospital Consultant posts are not filled as needed; while an additional 73 consultant oncologists will be needed over the next 7 years to meet demand on services;  Prof O’Reilly says cancer diagnoses were increasing at a rate of 5% a year even before the pandemic; Irish Hospital Consultants Association President: “We simply must appoint additional consultants. Government action now will prevent the current pandemic healthcare crisis drawing out for the rest of the decade.”
14th May 2021

Dedicated Government unit fails to get a grip on mounting hospital lists as 883,727 people now waiting for care

Record 883,727 people now on some form of NTPF waiting list; Department of Health unit established to improve access to care and reduce wait times fails to stem escalating hospital waiting list crisis over the last three and a half years;  21,420 patients now waiting longer than one year for essential hospital treatment;  Crisis in unscheduled care returns with highest number of patients treated on trolleys since start of pandemic, causing further cancellation of scheduled care; Government must work with consultant representatives to fill the one in five permanent consultant posts that are vacant to bring waiting lists down. IHCA President Professor Alan Irvine: “By any standards this is a very disappointing performance. The Department of Health’s unit should be an imaginative solution-focussed hub and incubator for new ideas. This requires shared leadership and collaborative engagement with hospital consultants who provide the medical and surgical care and their representatives to ensure an improved public hospital service for the Irish people.”
10th May 2021

Resource-scarce Ireland an “outlier” in psychiatric care, but increased beds and fully staffed mental healthcare teams will improve patient outcomes

Ireland’s mental health services are struggling with 30% of permanent consultant psychiatrist posts vacant and just 1,000 acute adult mental health beds 
27th April 2021

Delivery of new Major Trauma Services hinges on Government addressing hospital consultant crisis

Commenting on today’s announcement concerning the proposed development of Major Trauma Services, Irish Hospital Consultants Association President, Prof Alan Irvine, said:
9th April 2021

Ongoing Government failure to address chronic consultant recruitment crisis leaves almost a million waiting for care

Acute hospital figures at tipping point - as Covid restrictions and vaccine roll out strive to reduce daily case numbers, non-Covid care waiting lists skyrocket.  Hospital Consultants call for Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly TD to uphold his commitment to address root cause of 728 vacant consultant posts and subsequent record waiting lists.  Lack of resolution to the consultant recruitment and retention crisis has contributed to some hospitals experiencing a 100% increase in inpatient waiting lists in the last year alone and a total of 881,621 now waiting for care, nationally.  IHCA President Prof Alan Irvine: “Last October, the IHCA welcomed the ‘unambiguous commitment’ by Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly TD to address the root causes of Ireland’s chronic consultant recruitment and retention crisis, including the restoration of full pay parity. Failure to uphold that commitment and to engage in meaningful discussions with hospital consultants have contributed to an addition of 38,258 people to hospital waiting lists in the period since. While the Minister has worked to reduce Covid sickness and death since October, he and his officials must look to address the unacceptable delays in providing care to non-Covid patients and ever-growing waiting lists.”
22nd March 2021

IHCA comment on additional medical intern posts and postgraduate training places

Commenting on today’s government announcement of additional medical intern posts and postgraduate training places, Irish Hospital Consultants Association President, Prof Alan Irvine, said:
12th March 2021

Almost 877,000 people now waiting to see a specialist or receive care, as hospital waiting lists continue to increase

876,968 people now on some form of NTPF waiting list;  Large increases in outpatient waiting lists for General surgery (34%, +11,412), Orthopaedics (17%, +10,951), Gynaecology (13%, +3,622) and Dermatology (12%, +4,888); 56% increase in the number of patients waiting for hospital pain relief treatment since pandemic began; over 1,700 now waiting longer than a year for treatment – more than a three-fold increase since February 2020; While 153,000 fewer outpatient public hospital appointments now expected in 2021 through National Service Plan;  Lack of a plan to fill over 700 permanent consultant posts. IHCA President Prof Alan Irvine: “Today’s NTPF waiting list figures, which confirm almost 877,000 people are now on some form of NTPF waiting list, again highlight the impact of hospital consultant shortages and capacity constraints on those waiting for an outpatient appointment and related treatment. Timely access to care is vital in ensuring effective treatment and care for patients.” 
2nd March 2021

New HSE service plan will face challenges delivering hospital capacity precisely when more is needed

IHCA analysis of HSE Service Plan for 2021 points to 200,000 fewer patient appointments this year 
26th February 2021

Priority must be to reduce record waiting lists and outline plans to protect health system in months ahead - IHCA

Concern comes as HSE CEO Paul Reid admits that reducing waiting lists will be a ‘significant issue’ this year. Urgent action now needed to prevent secondary crisis of missed care as a record 860,000 people sit on waiting lists. No target set in new National Service Plan to fill 728 vacant consultant posts and insufficient commitment to increase acute bed capacity will impact ability to tackle lists and clear backlog of cancelled / postponed care in 2021.  Plan sees 153,000 fewer outpatient appointments and a reduction of 50,000 inpatient and day cases in 2021 compared with original expected 2020 activity; as well as reduced targets for those waiting longer than a year for their first outpatient and other appointments. Prof Alan Irvine, President, IHCA: “While government has committed record funding levels for health in 2021, until this money is channelled effectively and speedily to where it will make the most difference for patients – through the recruitment of additional Consultants with supporting teams and infrastructure – our public hospitals will continue to have record waiting lists and struggle to address the backlog of treatment due to Covid.” Following the publication of the HSE’s National Service Plan 2021 (Wednesday 24 February), the Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) has called on health officials to prioritise reducing record waiting lists and to outline a plan to enable public hospitals to cope in the coming months and next winter, in order to avoid another extremely challenging period for staff and patients.
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