11th September 2020

New leadership at hospital consultant body will continue fight for patient access to timely and quality care in Ireland

Professor Alan Irvine, Consultant Dermatologist at Children’s Health Ireland elected new President to represent over 90% of Irish hospital consultants; National Officers include Dr. Gabrielle Colleran (Vice President), Prof. Clare Fallon (Treasurer) and Dr. Conor O’Riordan (Membership Secretary); IHCA sets out key objectives of ending the consultant recruitment and retention crisis, advocating for patients, and reducing ‘still growing’ hospital waiting lists.  The Irish Hospital Consultant Association (IHCA) announced today, Friday, 11 September 2020, the election of its National Officers for the period 2020/2021. 
11th September 2020

Government must provide plans to prepare for ‘winter like no other’, says new IHCA President as waiting lists increase

Latest rise in patient waiting times comes the same day NPHET warns of the high likelihood of insufficient staffing levels to respond to service demands. 9,634 added to public outpatient waiting list in August, as 841,459 now on various NTPF waiting lists; 9.5% increase in the number of those waiting for care since the beginning of 2020;  Consultants warn that promise of ‘winter plan’ is an inadequate response and that immediate funded plan to tackle capacity deficits is needed;  New IHCA President elected at critical time for hospital consultants as health system braces for ‘winter like no other’.  IHCA President Professor Alan Irvine: “We still do not have a winter plan and it remains unclear what increased public hospital capacity will be provided…If significantly increased capacity is not urgently provided to prepare for the extraordinary winter surge due to COVID-19 and other demand increases, then it will simply be too late.”
10th August 2020

Comment by Dr Donal O’Hanlon, President of the IHCA, on Sinn Féin’s ‘Protecting Irish Health’ plan

“We welcome and commend this plan. It contains measures which are critical if we are to be ready for what the HSE has predicted will be a winter like no other.   “The specific commitment to resolve the two-tier consultant pay issue in order to retain and attract consultants has never been more timely. One in five permanent consultant posts are unfilled in our public hospitals. The HSE itself has confirmed Ireland has the lowest number of consultants in a range of specialties. Before the pandemic hit, over 800,000 people were waiting to see a consultant or receive treatment. What was bad is now worse.    “Minister Donnelly, his Fine Gael predecessor and now Sinn Féin are all in favour of restoring consultant pay parity. Each knows that to fix the problems requires more consultants, beds and capacity. There is no time to lose and the promised winter plan will only work if it contains funded measures on all three of these specifics.”    ENDS 
6th August 2020

Statement from the IHCA on the Department of Health Ministerial briefing, 6 August 2020

Commenting on today’s media reports on the briefing documents prepared by the Department of Health for the new Minister, Stephen Donnelly TD, IHCA President, Dr Donal O’Hanlon said:    “This briefing further confirms that what was bad has become worse. Coupled with recent HSE confirmation that we face a winter like no other, it shows that those in charge know there is a crisis. If government does not urgently prioritise the funding, development and implementation of practical plans towards addressing consultant recruitment and hospital capacity, what we all know may happen this winter, will happen. We simply cannot entertain the possibility of a more than 100% increase on acute hospital waiting lists in 2020, with over 800,000 people already waiting months, in some cases years, to see a consultant or receive treatment. We have grave concerns about the reduced health outcomes for these people, and the wider long-term side effect on our nation’s health.   “We know what the problems are and we know what it takes to fix them — more consultants, more beds and measures to free-up capacity. We must urgently fill the 500 vacant consultant posts without delay if we are to tackle the increasing waiting lists. There is no time to lose. We need early, fully-funded decisions with cross government backing. If we adopt the same approach as before with no clarity on funding until December, then it is simply too late.”   ENDS 
27th July 2020

HSE report further confirms gravity of current and projected consultant recruitment and retention crisis for patients

A Health Service Executive (HSE) report on medical consultant and specialist staffing further confirms the gravity for patients of the current and projected consultant recruitment and retention crisis, the Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) has said.
22nd July 2020

Statement by the IHCA on the passing of Dr Syed Waqar Ali Shah

The hospital community is in mourning today at the untimely passing of our colleague and friend, Dr Syed Waqar Ali Shah.   Dr Shah’s tragic death at a young age reminds us once more of the sacrifices made by frontline healthcare professionals, particularly at this time.      Dr Shah was an exemplary medical professional with an immense dedication to public service. His expertise, care and warmth made an impression with patients and colleagues alike. This was evident every day among those who worked with Dr Shah and witnessed at first hand his deep commitment to healthcare.    At the onset of Covid-19, Dr Shah put himself selflessly at the frontline in the fight against this awful pandemic, paying the ultimate price. Our thoughts and condolences are with Dr Shah’s wife Rubab, his children and mother at this sad time.      ENDS 
17th July 2020

Government must prioritise hospital investment to avoid losing up to 25% of critical inpatient beds

Up to 25% of acute hospital inpatient beds could be lost as a result of social distancing measures;  Urgent funding, development and implementation needed to increase hospital capacity to meet COVID-19 and winter demands;  Consultants outline 21 priority actions needed to get acute hospital care ready to face future challenges. IHCA President Donal O’Hanlon: “We risk losing significant capacity as a result of social distancing measures, yet there are thousands more beds required across the full scope of our hospital system. These facilities are not a luxury but a necessity.” 

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