12th August 2022

Years of underinvestment and Consultant staffing crisis leaving potentially thousands at risk of dying on waiting lists

Shocking figure of 7,600 deaths last year in Northern Ireland likely to be replicated for those on hospital waiting lists in Republic, warn Consultants 907,000 people on some form of NTPF waiting list, up almost 75,000 (9%) since July 2020; Waiting list crisis long predates pandemic, with 267,000 people added to outpatient waiting lists since 2014 – a 74% increase;  Significant 65-fold increase in the number of patients waiting longer than a year for inpatient or day case treatment over the past decade; Long waiting lists a direct result of Consultant recruitment and retention crisis and years of underinvestment in capacity. IHCA President Prof Alan Irvine: “Irish patients are not getting the hospital treatment that they need. Many thousands are being added to an ever-increasing waiting list for assessment and treatment, which is leading to poorer outcomes. This is unfortunate and unacceptable. The shocking figures revealed this week in Northern Ireland – which has half the number of patients waiting for an outpatient appointment compared with the Republic – shows that in many cases, patients died while awaiting treatment.”
28th July 2022

Ensuring children can access care critical for their development “shouldn’t be such a battle” – says leading Paediatric Radiologist

101,000 children on some form of NTPF waiting list, with almost 1 in 3 waiting longer than a year for treatment or assessment by a hospital Consultant  Concerns that thousands of children facing years of waiting for care due to staffing and capacity shortages; Additional 8,300 children awaiting diagnostic scans at the three Dublin children’s hospitals; Hospital Consultant recruitment and retention crisis worsens with 882 permanent posts (22% of the total) not filled as needed; Professor Stephanie Ryan: “If a child needs a scan, I just wish we could provide the service and not have them waiting for years.” The Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) has today (28 July) warned that the failure of staffing and capacity resourcing to keep pace with medical advances over the past quarter of a century has left Ireland’s public hospitals lagging behind in their ability to deliver timely care to children.
15th July 2022

More failed health targets leave patients waiting longer, says IHCA

New data reveals worsening hospital staffing crisis as 882 Consultant posts now unfilled  903,440 people on some form of public hospital waiting list; up more than 86,000 (11%) since June 2020; 11,300 people added to three main waiting lists in the first half of 2022, missing Government reduction target by 77,500; €350m Waiting List Action Plan unlikely to meet target of reducing waiting lists by 132,000 (18%) by end of 2022;   Number of unfilled Consultant posts rises to 882 – a 21% increase (+155) in vacant or temporary filled posts in just one year; Urgent action needed to address public hospital capacity deficits and Consultant vacancies, say Consultants. IHCA President Prof Alan Irvine: “The 2022 Waiting List Action Plan has reached its halfway point but is nowhere near achieving the reduction targets set for the end of the year. The NTPF figures released today confirm our fears that without addressing the very obvious shortages of Consultants, hospital beds, theatres, diagnostic and other facilities the Government will not address the core problems facing our public hospitals. Unfortunately, more failed health targets are leaving patients waiting longer.”
27th June 2022

Patient outcomes suffer as waiting lists at hospitals in North-East increase by 40% to over 38,000

Orthopaedics, Dermatology, Gynaecology, and Rheumatology outpatient waiting lists in North-East hospitals increase by 41%, or almost 4,500 additional people, in past seven years;  15,365 people awaiting assessment by a Consultant in Orthopaedics, Dermatology, Gynaecology and Rheumatology at Cavan, Drogheda, Dundalk and Navan hospitals; One in four approved permanent hospital Consultant posts in the North-East are not filled as needed, which is the root cause of delays in providing timely care to the 38,000 people on waiting lists in the region; False economy as North-East hospitals spent €9.6 million on medical agency doctors last year – more than 10% of the national total. IHCA President Prof Alan Irvine: “The severe shortage of Consultants across the North-East region is the main contributor to the unacceptable delays in providing care to patients. The Government must make good on its promise to deliver the extra beds, extra Consultants and extra facilities so badly needed to meet the healthcare needs of the 38,000 people in the North-East currently waiting to be assessed or treated by a hospital Consultant.”
10th June 2022

Years of underinvestment have led to unacceptable hospital waiting lists and long waiting times for patients

Waiting lists in May again top 900,000, due to public hospital capacity deficits; shortage of acute beds, other facilities and Consultant vacancies cause cancellations in essential scheduled care, IHCA warns
8th June 2022

IHCA comment on publication of the Sláintecare Action Plan 2022 by the Minister for Health

Commenting on today’s publication of the Sláintecare Action Plan 2022 by the Minister for Health, the Irish Hospital Consultants Association said:
2nd June 2022

Consultant vacancies at North West hospitals resulting in worsening waiting lists and additional agency costs, says IHCA 

Hospitals in Letterkenny and Sligo have over 45,000 people on waiting lists for assessment or treatment by a Hospital Consultant; an increase of 12,300 (37%) since 2015; Number of patients awaiting inpatient or day case treatment at Letterkenny University Hospital and Sligo University Hospital has increased by 57% over the past seven years;  One quarter (9,300) of those on outpatient waiting lists at LUH and SUH are waiting longer than 18 months for an appointment with a Consultant;  Consultant recruitment crisis in the region evident with as many as 1 in 3 permanent Consultant posts vacant or filled on a temporary or agency basis; Failure to recruit specialists in North West creating a false economy with €9.2m bill for medical agency staff in 2021;  Delays in patient treatment and recruitment crisis must be addressed in reconvened Consultant contract talks with an agreed replacement Independent Chair. IHCA President Prof Alan Irvine: “Failing to recruit Consultant medical and surgical specialists in the North West will inevitably lead to patient harm, poor clinical outcomes, exposure to high compensation costs and increased spending on temporary agency staff. The growing waiting lists and Consultant vacancies in the region highlight once again the false economies that exist in our health system which benefit no one.”
30th May 2022

Sláintecare targets are still decades away from being a reality, say Consultants

Today marks halfway point in Government’s 10-year plan, yet waiting lists and capacity deficits continue to grow as limited progress made
27th May 2022

Lack of long-term vision is failing patients with chronic care needs, says Rheumatology specialist

Focus solely on trying to tackle waiting lists in the short term means public hospitals lack the capacity to treat people who need ongoing care for chronic conditions
13th May 2022

Hospital waiting lists longer than ever at halfway point of 10-year Sláintecare plan, say Consultants

Limited progress made as public hospitals still decades away from achieving Sláintecare wait time targets due to growing capacity deficits 898,000 people on some form of NTPF waiting list; up more than 314,000 (54%) since publication of Sláintecare Report in May 2017;  Government’s landmark plan pledged no-one should wait more than 10 weeks for a public hospital outpatient appointment, yet 345,000 currently on outpatient waiting lists for over 6 months — with almost a 3-fold increase in patients waiting +18 months in past five years; Sláintecare target wait time of just 10 days set for a public hospital diagnostic test; latest figures reveal 143,000 waiting more than 3 months for vital CTs, MRIs or ultrasounds with over 57,000 waiting a year or longer;   Stalled Consultant contract talks must be reconvened with an agreed replacement Independent Chair to address Consultant recruitment crisis and bring waiting lists down.  IHCA President Prof Alan Irvine: “The first five years of the 10-year Sláintecare plan have shown that its waiting list targets are not achievable because public hospitals have a severe shortage of Consultants, theatres, acute beds, diagnostic and other facilities. The continuing deficits in hospital Consultants and public hospital capacity means it could be decades before the waiting time targets set out in Sláintecare can be achieved.”  
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