31st March 2023

Cancellation of scheduled appointments and operations across Mid-West should not be the go-to solution for overcrowding, warn Consultants

Over 3,500 appointments and operations cancelled at hospitals in UL Hospitals Group between December 2022 and January 2023; Urgent expansion in capacity needed, with immediate additional 100 acute beds required and at least 400 extra beds; Record number of vacant Consultant posts need to be filled by permanent specialists;  Mr Colin Peirce, IHCA: “Medical and surgical staff on the ground have never experienced such sustained levels of stress from not being able to provide the care that their patients desperately need. For us to be able to do our work, we need to see a significant expansion in hospital capacity across the UL Hospitals Group without delay, including additional beds, diagnostic equipment, and the recruitment of additional Consultants together with the support staff to ensure surgeons can work to clear waiting lists.” The Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) has urged health service management to significantly increase bed capacity and maximise operating theatre usage across the UL Hospitals Group,1 to address the repeated cancellation of hospital appointments and operations in response to ongoing emergency department (ED) overcrowding.
15th March 2023

Former Surgeon says ‘name, blame, shame, retrain’ culture across health service is not the solution

Surgical specialist turned pilot says aviation safety models should be adopted within the Irish health service to significantly benefit patient care and outcomes ‘Name, blame, shame, retrain’ culture is placing extra strain on staff already under immense pressure in challenging working conditions. Staff shortages and a lack of capacity means Consultants and other medical professionals cannot work to the best of their ability, increasing the potential for error. Over 900 permanent Consultant posts nationally remain either vacant or filled on a temporary or agency basis which is compounding the issue of safety. Captain Niall Downey “In aviation we assume we are going to get it wrong, and all our systems are designed around that. We expect error, we don’t blame the individual for that”. Airline Captain Niall Downey, a former Cardiothoracic Surgeon, has said the Government should implement an aviation style safety model when it comes to healthcare. 
10th March 2023

Downgraded waiting list action plan falls at first hurdle – IHCA

Lowered reduction targets for end of 2023 dependent on removing record 146,000 patients through ‘validation’ of lists 14,800 people added to three main waiting lists in the first two months of 2023, missing Government reduction target by over 26,000; Consultants criticise lack of ambition of Government’s new Action Plan which lowers previous reduction target of 18% to 10% this year; a 4% reduction was achieved in 2022; Projected cuts in waiting lists are dependent on NTPF removing 146,000 people without any treatment through ‘validation programme’; more than double the validation target of 60,000 in last year’s Action Plan;   885,000 people on some form of public hospital waiting list at end of February; an increase of 300,000 (52%) compared with May 2017 when Sláintecare published;   Latest €443m Action Plan unlikely to meet waiting list targets unless Government addresses public hospital capacity deficits and Consultant vacancies, say Consultants. IHCA President Prof Robert Landers: “The NTPF figures released today confirm our fears that these waiting lists may take a decade or more to get under control without simultaneously resolving the severe capacity deficits in our public hospitals and filling the one in five Consultant posts vacant or filled on a temporary basis.”
7th March 2023

IHCA Statement on new Consultant Contract

Comment by spokesperson for Irish Hospital Consultants Association   
8th February 2023

Consultant shortages and capacity deficits see waiting lists at Cork hospitals rise to 84,400

Cork hospitals among worst performers in the country for waiting lists, says IHCA
26th January 2023

‘Management class’ in health service is distracting from delivery of care to patients

Leading Professor at University of Limerick says health service has “taken eye off the ball” Professor Orla Muldoon says emphasis on performance indicators and lack of focus on expanding frontline hospital capacity and resources to care for patients is creating a ‘management class’ in the health service and detracting from treating patients Current corporate management structures a source of frustration for medical professionals who are “not trusted to manage the system” Meanwhile, almost 8 in every 10 Consultants screening positive for burnout as many medical and surgical specialists continue to move abroad to other health services 870,000 people were on some form of hospital waiting list at the end of November, including almost 97,000 children Prof Muldoon: “A vast amount of effort is put into counting Key Performance Indicators. KPIs in the private sector come with the resources to achieve them; when imposed on the public health service, there are no extra resources to deliver the care.” A leading Professor at the University of Limerick has said that the continued trend towards imposing a corporate model in our public health system is compounding the service’s inability to deliver care to patients.
23rd January 2023

Statement by the Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) on today’s publication of an interim report by the Mental Health Commission into the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS)

Commenting on the interim report, Vice President of the Irish Hospital Consultant Association (IHCA) and Consultant Liaison Psychiatrist, Prof Anne Doherty says:
13th January 2023

Government must answer ‘emergency 999 call’ on health service crisis

Waiting List Action Plan fails to deliver as almost 900,000 people on hospital waiting lists, 900 patients treated on trolleys and over 900 Consultant posts vacant, says IHCA
4th January 2023

“We are consistently left to fire fight without the necessary resources, the moral injury caused is almost irreversible at this stage” – say Consultants

Concerns mount among Consultants as Irish hospital services continue to bear brunt of healthcare pressures;  Hospitals could see 1,000 admitted patients being treated on trolleys on a single day in the weeks ahead; As peak of winter illness hits, 51 additional Emergency Medicine Consultant post have yet to be delivered under HSE Winter Plan 2022/23; IHCA: “To move away from this constant wheel of crises, the Government must put in place the capacity expansion that is needed and the HSE must empower hospitals and community services to make decisions and take the actions needed to provide timely and safe care to their patients.”   Today (04 January 2023), the Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) has expressed its concern over the continued pressures being faced by Ireland’s acute hospital services as extreme levels of overcrowding in our emergency departments and un-safe capacity limits hit record new highs.
20th December 2022

Over 77,000 people now waiting for hospital care across the Mid-West as 1 in 3 Consultant posts remain unfilled 

52,200 people on NTPF waiting lists in UL Hospital Group and an additional 25,100 waiting for urgent diagnostic scans; Almost 1,600 patients admitted to UHL Emergency Department treated on trolleys last month – the worst November on record – and 17,500 this year;  Consultant recruitment crisis and worsening capacity deficits in region’s hospitals is root cause of delays in providing care, with record 1 in 3 permanent Consultant posts vacant or not filled as needed; At least an additional 302 inpatient beds and 63 day case beds needed by 2036 to address current shortfalls and meet increased patient demand. IHCA President Prof Robert Landers: “The extreme shortage of Consultants and worsening capacity deficits across the UL Hospitals Group are the main contributors to the unacceptable delays in providing care to patients in the Mid-West region.” 
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