11th December 2020

Growth in surgical waiting times is leaving patients at risk, as failure to fill over 700 consultant posts remains unresolved

9,248 added to adult general surgery outpatient waiting list in 2020; 4,133 more waiting over a year to see a consultant since start of year, an increase of 152%;  Paediatric surgery outpatient list has more than doubled since start of the year, with 2,107 more children waiting to see a hospital consultant; 2,419 (25%) additional patients waiting for inpatient/day case general surgery; 40% increase in paediatric surgery inpatient/day case waiting list since the start of the year; More than a fifth of all hospital consultant posts are now vacant or not filled as needed.  IHCA President Prof Alan Irvine: “Today’s NTPF waiting list figures again highlight the impact of hospital consultant shortages and capacity constraints on those waiting for an outpatient appointment and related surgery and treatment. Each statistic represents a person waiting for the care they desperately need, while potentially deteriorating clinically or living in pain.” 
4th December 2020

New Medical Council report further evidence of consultant recruitment crisis – Irish Hospital Consultants Association

In same week HSE confirm 728 unfilled permanent consultant posts, Medical Council report finds:  
30th November 2020

Number of unfilled consultant posts increases to 728, 45% more than previously believed – new data analysis

More than a fifth of all consultant posts are now vacant or unfilled on permanent basis; 612,000 people — 12% of the population of Ireland — are now waiting for an outpatient appointment with a consultant;  More than a quarter of a million have been waiting longer than a year for an outpatient appointment, Irish Hospital Consultants Association data analysis reveals; Patients in all parts of the country impacted by significant consultant deficits with the South/South West and Western regions with the highest number of unfilled posts;  IHCA says worsening wait times can be traced back to a 2012 decision to cut pay of hospital consultants appointed thereafter, calls for immediate reversal. New data from the HSE's National Doctors Training and Planning unit confirms that over a fifth of all permanent consultant posts, 728 in total, are now vacant or filled on a temporary, locum, or agency basis.    It comes as 612,000 people — 12% of the population of Ireland — are now waiting for an outpatient appointment with a consultant. Over quarter of a million, 255,000, have been waiting longer than a year, five times the 2014 number. A further 75,000 people are awaiting inpatient/day-case treatment.   The new HSE figures, analysed by the Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA), confirm that as of 4 November 2020, of the 728 posts, 554 are at hospital level with 174 at community level (see below). A total of 237 permanent consultant posts are vacant, with two of unknown status and likely vacant. A further 406 permanent consultant posts are filled by temporary and locum consultants, with an additional 83 posts filled on an agency basis. It was previously believed approximately 500 consultant posts were vacant or unfilled on a permanent basis.    The specialties with the largest percentage of permanent consultant posts that are either vacant or filled on a temporary/locum or agency basis are:    Psychiatry — 32%, 153 posts Emergency Medicine — 29%, 33 posts Intensive Care Medicine — 27%, 9 posts Medicine — 22%, 176 posts Paediatrics — 21%, 49 posts Pathology — 20%, 60 posts Radiology — 19%, 60 posts Surgery — 17%, 93 posts
13th November 2020

Filling over 500 vacant consultant posts is key solution to delays in providing timely care to 845,000 on waiting lists

79,000 added to waiting lists since start of 2020, as 844,719 patients now wait for care; 612,817 outpatients are waiting for a consultant appointment, an increase of over 235,000 compared with 2014 and 59,383 during 2020; Direct correlation between record number of people waiting for outpatient appointments and long-standing hospital consultant vacancies. Increased wait times adversely impact patient outcomes in key areas of care;  Over 18,000 patients now waiting over a year for essential inpatient/day case treatment – more than double the number at the start of 2020. IHCA President Professor Alan Irvine: “Key to bringing down wait times continues to be more consultants and hospital capacity to care for patients.”
6th November 2020

‘Treatment delayed is treatment denied’, says leading Oncologist as cancer patients impacted by shortage of specialists in the Irish health service

Almost 150,000 less people seen by main cancer screening services in the first six months of this year as a result of the reduction in non-COVID-19 care during the first wave of the pandemic; 12,400 more people waiting for an inpatient/day case GI endoscopy since last year; Over 2,400 people on the urgent cancer wait list for endoscopy services, almost a quarter (24% or 580 people) of whom have been waiting more than 3 months for a referral; Urgent recruitment of 73 additional consultant oncologists over the next eight years needed to tackle current acute hospital and cancer services waiting lists and future demand;  St Vincent’s Oncologist, Professor John Crown: “There is a lot of apprehension as to what it will be like to be a patient or a healthcare worker in the hospital system in Ireland over the next 6 months”. The Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) has today raised concerns about a lack of consultants and capacity in Ireland’s oncology services that is leaving many cancer patients waiting months to see a specialist. 
13th October 2020

Irish Hospital Consultants Association’s response to Budget 2021

Commenting on Budget 2021, Professor Alan Irvine, President, Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) said:   “We welcome much of what is contained in Budget 2021. The importance of the healthcare system to our society and economy has never been clearer. While we are playing catch-up, investment of an additional €4 billion in healthcare deserves to be recognised and provides much needed backing at a crucial time.    “We are pleased to see that many of those patient care areas we have been campaigning for through #carecantwait are recognised along with supports for those of us on the frontline.    “Dedicated funding on cancer care, maternity services and trauma are hugely significant and will benefit thousands of people. We commend Minister Donnelly on achieving agreement for these key initiatives.   “Financial backing for beds at acute, community and intensive care levels is positive. Moving quickly to use this funding while in tandem providing transparency on bed delivery numbers at hospital level will give confidence to patients and healthcare professionals alike.    “Signals to finally address the deficit in hospital consultant numbers is one we all want to see realised. Addressing the consultant deficit is a three-legged stool of funding, enabling legislation to reverse the damaging 2012 decision in full, and agreement. On all three, we are finally seeing a chink of light. There is no time to lose given winter is upon us, the added pressure of the pandemic, and over 840,000 people continue to wait for care. We must now move quickly to get times in the diary to commence discussions with Minister Donnelly and health service management to ensure workable solutions are agreed.”   ENDS  
10th October 2020

Irish Hospital Consultants Association say only way to end cynicism on health promises is solutions

“COVID-19 reveals co-dependency that exists between a sustainable economy and properly resourced health system”
9th October 2020

IHCA comments on the fact that 843,363 people are now waiting for care

Commenting on the fact that 843,363 people are now waiting for care, Prof Alan Irvine, President, Irish Hospital Consultants Association, said: 
30th September 2020

IHCA responds to decision to hire additional public health staff and government approval to draft new legislation

Commenting on the two measures signalled by government today—the decision to hire additional public health staff and Cabinet approval to draft new legislation which will impact on the delivery of healthcare—Professor Alan Irvine, President of the Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) said: 
24th September 2020

Irish Hospital Consultants Association responds to winter plan

“A promise to invest in services but not in the professionals required to deliver them” 
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