News

10th January 2020

Government misses end of year targets on waiting lists by thousands

43,000 more people on outpatient waiting list than end of year target; 6,500 more patients on inpatient/day case waiting list than Government’s own target for 2019; 137,850 people added to the outpatient waiting list since the Government first took office in May 2016, which is a 33% increase; Despite spending €5m NTPF funding for 5,000 gastrointestinal scopes, the number of patients waiting for endoscopies has increased by almost 3,400 instead of decreasing by 2,300 target. Dr Donal O’Hanlon, IHCA President said: “The Government has failed to meet any of its targets on waiting lists by the end of 2019, despite €75 million NTPF spending. The consultant recruitment and retention crisis, with over 500 permanent consultant posts unfilled, is a key factor in the long wait times patients face. The discrimination against new consultants must be ended to fill the large number of permanent vacant consultant posts and expand hospital consultant staffing which is the lowest in the EU adjusted for population.”
9th January 2020

Consultants call on Minister Harris to reverse decision to deliver 40% fewer beds by 2021

National Development Plan in 2018 promised 780 additional hospital beds by end 2021, but later reduced number to 480 beds in 2019 Capital Plan; Over 118,000 patients were forced to wait on trolleys during 2019, peaking to 760 patients in one day in January 2020; Government must now commit to fast tracking and funding the total 2,600 additional beds in the NDP much earlier in view of the trolley and waiting list crises.  IHCA President, Dr. Donal O’Hanlon: “Huge swathes of our acute public hospital services are effectively now shut down. 
7th January 2020

Decision to cancel all elective surgery at Cork hospitals poorly thought-out

Failure to recognise that Cork cancelled elective surgery is essential surgery; Regional hospitals and patients suffering as Minister says promised additional beds not due until end of the month;  Irish hospital consultants do not support actions which undermine timely, high-quality care for vulnerable patients; Vulnerable patients, such as those with cancer, requiring time sensitive treatment impacted by the decision.  The Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) which represents over 90% of hospital consultants has warned that the decision yesterday (Monday, 6 January 2019) to cancel all elective surgery at Cork hospitals will have severe knock-on consequences for patient health outcomes. 
2nd January 2020

IHCA statement on annual hospital overcrowding figures for 2019: Government must make overcrowding a thing of the past

Over 118,000 admitted patients treated on trolleys due to the increasing bed shortage in overcrowded public hospitals;  Just 2 days into the new year and the situation in public hospitals is worse than ever before;   Reacting to new figures released today, hospital consultants call on Government to make 2020 the year for the provision of public hospital care without current unacceptable delays by implementing practical solutions to resolve growing hospital capacity deficits.  IHCA President, Donal O’Hanlon: “The record numbers of people waiting for a public hospital outpatient appointments and admitted patients waiting on trolleys for a bed have been a reality for too long and must become a thing of the past. Growing bed capacity shortages and consultant vacancies must be addressed immediately if we are to make real changes in 2020.”
18th December 2019

Recognition of recruitment crisis welcome, but proposals create a €650 million annual funding hole in public hospitals

For cash-starved public hospitals and suffering patients, measures as outlined risk making a bad situation even worse   Government yet to explain where the funding for the required capacity expansion to address deficits and demand will come from  Solving the recruitment crisis requires engagement and joined-up thinking rather than electioneering The Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) has welcomed the formal recognition by Government of the consultant recruitment crisis and the need to restore parity but warned that proposals outlined today will create an annual funding hole of €650 million in cash-starved public hospitals and wreak havoc on patients. 
13th December 2019

Ireland’s wait times in a ‘parallel universe’ when contrasted with comparable countries such as Scotland

Election 2020 can call Government to account for why it is failing to make any significant inroads reducing the one million waiting for hospital care  In Scotland, with a comparable population, there are over 50% more consultants and 70% of all patients are treated within 12 weeks.  IHCA President, Dr. Donal O’Hanlon: “In Ireland our existing HSE waiting time targets are in a ‘parallel universe’ compared to countries such as Scotland, which has a similar population. There, Scottish hospitals see most outpatients within 12 weeks. Here, the target for an outpatient to see a consultant is four times longer at 52 weeks. Yet our health service cannot even meet this target.
13th December 2019

Statement by the IHCA on cancelled chemotherapy services at Crumlin Children’s Hospital

“The reported cancellation of children’s chemotherapy treatments at Crumlin Children’s Hospital is one of the more troubling effects of this Government’s failure to invest in adequate bed capacity across our acute public hospitals. This has left our hospitals, such as in Crumlin, unable to provide for both planned essential care, such as chemotherapy for cancer, and the annual predictable increase in patients’ requirements for hospital care due to illnesses such as respiratory conditions or flu.  
12th December 2019

Statement by IHCA on comments by Minister Simon Harris on overcrowding in University Limerick Hospitals Group

The IHCA, commenting on Oireachtas Health Committee meeting yesterday in relation to the unacceptable overcrowding in the University Hospital Limerick (UHL) Emergency Department, said Minister Harris is incorrect in saying that UHL doctors (Consultants), other than surgeons, are not travelling to smaller hospitals. On the contrary, the majority of consultants in UHL, not just surgeons, are working in other hospitals in addition to UHL. This includes St John’s, Ennis, Nenagh, Newcastle West and Thurles Hospitals. 
11th December 2019

IHCA respond to comments made by Minister for Health Simon Harris before the Oireachtas Health Committee on Wed 11 Dec

“We welcome the commitment from Minister Harris to further engagement with the IHCA and its consultant members to address the ongoing consultant recruitment crisis. The Government’s discrimination against consultants since October 2012 has resulted in one-in-five, or 500 permanent consultant posts, being unfilled in public hospitals across Ireland. This has exacerbated the delays in providing care to patients and led to record waiting lists. Consultants have been repeatedly calling on the Government, but to no avail, to provide us with the capacity to treat all public hospital patients in a timely manner without delays.
6th December 2019

New data shows 15,167 ‘hidden’ children waiting for treatment at acute hospitals across West and North-West regions

117,000 children nationally now waiting for hospital care.  Hospital consultants call for data on the number of children waiting to be published, separate from adult figures. IHCA President Dr. Donal O’Hanlon: “That over 15,000 children, equivalent to the entire population of Castlebar, are waiting for hospital care across the Saolta University Health Care Group’s acute public hospitals, is hugely worrying. “The fact that this information is not published on a regular basis does not make the agonising wait for children and their families any less real or less damaging for the children whose healthy development is on hold”. The Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) has today (6 December 2019) called for “full transparency” on the numbers of children waiting to access treatment in the Saolta University Health Care Group’s public hospitals in Galway, Roscommon, Mayo, Sligo and Donegal.
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