17th November 2023
Concern for patient outcomes across the North East as hospital waiting lists grow and Emergency Departments overstretched
7,370 additional people added to outpatient and inpatient/ day case waiting lists since October 2015; Government on course to miss waiting list reduction target by 3,870; Orthopaedics, Urology, Dermatology, Rheumatology and Cardiology outpatient waiting lists in North East hospitals increase by 51% on average; One in four approved permanent hospital Consultant posts in the region are not filled as needed; Capacity deficits resulting in average Emergency Department wait times of 10 hours at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital; 1 in 7 patients aged 75 years and older waiting longer than 24 hours for admission or discharge; IHCA President Professor Rob Landers: “The waiting lists and wait times in the North East confirm Consultant’s 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 in the region.” The Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) has warned that patient outcomes across the North East are being compromised due to increasing waiting lists, overstretched emergency departments and growing hospital cancellations. Severe public hospital capacity deficits across the region along with an ongoing shortage of Consultants is restricting patients from accessing timely, high-quality medical and surgical care. New analysis from the IHCA shows that between October 2015 and October 2023, an additional 7,370 (+26%) people have been added to hospital outpatient, inpatient and day case waiting lists across the North East. A total of 36,300 people are currently waiting for hospital care.1 The latest National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) figures also show an increase in the number of people waiting for treatment at the four hospitals in the region this year. It means that the Government is on course to miss reduction targets set out in the Waiting List Action Plan for 2023 by a wide margin.
10th November 2023
Consultants say paediatric hospitals already experiencing overcrowding and approaching peak levels Child inpatient and day case waiting lists have increased by 13% and 36% respectively since October 2022; As over 883,000 people on some form of NTPF waiting list, including 96,700 children; 264 admitted children treated on trolleys during October at the three Dublin paediatric hospitals; 2,800 children across the country treated on a trolley or chair so far in 2023; IHCA President Prof Rob Landers: “As Consultants, we need and want sustainable solutions to help alleviate the distress of those on unacceptable waiting lists and provide the care patients of all ages so desperately need.” The Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) has today (10 November 2023) warned that waiting lists for child inpatient and day case treatment have significantly increased over the past year and could deteriorate further this winter due to expected severe overcrowding in our paediatric hospitals.
13th October 2023
Government significantly ‘behind target’ of 10% reduction in waiting lists by end of 2023; already facing a 65,000 shortfall by end of September; 893,000 people on some form of NTPF waiting list; which is up almost 23,000 (3%) this year alone and by an additional 309,000 (+53%) people since Sláintecare; IHCA President Prof Robert Landers: “The 2023 Waiting List Action Plan is now unlikely to achieve the reduction targets set for the end of the year. The Government needs to urgently increase public hospital capacity to address the increasing number of patients on waiting lists.” The Health Service will need to provide care to a staggering 82,200 additional people in the next three months if it’s to meet the Government’s waiting list reduction target for year end.
10th October 2023
Irish Hospital Consultants Association – Statement on Budget 2024 Announcement The Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) has today (Tuesday 10 October 2023) expressed concern that Budget 2024 has not provided the necessary capital funding to build and open the additional acute hospital beds and theatre capacity in our public hospitals already announced by the Minister for Health.
30th September 2023
Consultants call for adjustments to be made to allow for a full systemic review into spinal surgeries
IHCA Annual Conference to highlight how unacceptable waiting lists and vacant Consultant posts are symptoms of a broken system The 35th Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) conference will hear calls today (30 September 2023) for the external review into spinal surgeries to be systemic in nature.
15th September 2023
896,700 people on some form of NTPF waiting list; which is up more than 26,600 (3%) this year alone and by an additional 313,000 (+54%) people since Sláintecare; Government significantly ‘behind target’ of 10% reduction in waiting lists by end of 2023; already facing a 63,700 shortfall; This is despite the NTPF removing 49,500 patients from hospital waiting lists in the first six months of the year without any treatment, as part of ‘validation’ scheme. The Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) has today (Friday, 15 September 2023) questioned claims by the Department of Health that the Government’s Waiting List Action Plan is running ‘ahead of target’.
31st August 2023
MHC CAMHS publications: “The current approach is simply not good enough and is failing our youngest and most vulnerable patients”
Mental Health Commission publications: “The current approach is simply not good enough and is failing our youngest and most vulnerable patients.” Comment by spokesperson for the Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) on the publication by the Mental Health Commission of individual reports on the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in the nine Community Healthcare Organisations (CHO): “The reports published today underline once more the scale and severity of the deficits faced day-to-day in our child and adolescent mental health services. Details of individual cases and what those involved and their families have to experience are all too familiar to those of us working in this area. “Regrettably, for consultants working in these services across the country, the capacity deficits in each region have been highlighted by us numerous times. We are trying to provide care in very complex and constrained conditions for young people who need care for urgent and severe mental health crises. Delivery of timely assessment, care and follow-on monitoring is critical but incredibly challenging in an under resourced service. “Time and time again, Consultants and others in the service have raised the serious concerns about staffing and capacity shortages and highlighted the impact this has on young people’s mental health and their ongoing care needs. Lessons are not being learned. There is no shortage of reports but very little by way of meaningful action. “Meanwhile, the growing deficits are stark. Currently CAMHS funding is approximately 0.63% of the overall Health Budget, at just €125.18m. “CAMHS teams are significantly below the recommended staffing levels, some below 50% of recommended levels. Some of these services are missing a third of the required Psychiatry Consultants, as these permanent posts remain vacant or only filled on a temporary, agency, or locum basis. “There are only 51 CAMHS inpatient beds operational across the country at any one time, falling well short of the 130 beds recommended in the Government’s ‘Vision for Change’ strategy. “The very fact that our benchmarks for staffing and bed levels are rooted in a 17-year-old mental health policy, also points to a lack of priority given to addressing this issue over the past decade and more. “The current approach is simply not good enough and is failing our youngest and most vulnerable patients. Our priority must be ensuring all our young people have the best chance of a good quality of life, whether they require lifelong treatment to make that happen or not – this should be the goal of our national health policy. “There are many strands that have to come together, involving all pillars of the health system – GPs, Consultants, Allied Health Professionals - to ensure these highly vulnerable patients are cared for as required. “Decision-makers need to use their leadership and resources to drive such a collaborative, whole-of-service approach to ensuring an end-to-end care pathway under the oversight of dedicated clinical leadership for CAMHS. Failure to do so will simply mean similarly stark reports into the future.” ENDS Media contacts – 360, A FINN Partners Company: Amy Couch | email@example.com | 085 816 6122
11th August 2023
Failure to ensure timely care for young patients due to capacity deficits as 1 in 12 children remain stuck on stubbornly high waiting lists – says IHCA 100,800 children on some form of NTPF waiting list; with 1 in 5 (20,600) waiting longer than a year for treatment or assessment in public hospitals; Additional 8,900 children awaiting diagnostic scans at the three Dublin children’s hospitals not included in NTPF waiting lists; Over 4,400 children on CAMHS waiting lists – almost double the number compared with the start of 2020; IHCA President Prof Robert Landers: “Thousands of children are not getting the care they need in a timely way. There is a real possibility that they will suffer serious health and developmental issues that could have been reversed or mitigated against if only they were seen in time.” The Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) has today (Friday 11 August 2023) expressed its continuing concern at the excessive number of children waiting for an appointment to be treated or assessed in public hospitals. The warning from Consultants comes as the latest National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) figures released today reveal that 895,700 people were on some form of hospital waiting list at the end of July, including almost 100,800 children and young people.1 While a recent report highlighted the extent of extreme capacity shortages in Ireland’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), the IHCA’s analysis shows that similar capacity deficits are resulting in lengthy waiting lists across a number of paediatric specialties, including Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT), Dermatology, Orthopaedics and Cardiology – with some being forced to wait months or years for assessment or treatment. The IHCA said that difficulty in filling permanent Consultant posts and growing hospital and mental health capacity deficits against increases in demand are the root causes of the unacceptably long child waiting lists. One in five (20,600) children are waiting longer than a year for treatment or assessment by a hospital Consultant. Latest HSE data reveals the number of unfilled permanent Consultant posts has risen to a record 933.2 This is the highest Consultant vacancy rate ever. Hospital diagnostics are not included in NTPF data which accounts for an additional 8,916 children awaiting CTs, MRIs or ultrasounds at the three Dublin paediatric hospitals alone, bringing the total number awaiting care to almost 110,000 – or 1 in 12 children in the country.3 In addition, a near record 4,421 children4 were on separate CAMHS waiting lists at the end of May 2023 – 128 (3%) additional children added so far this year.5 The CAMHS waiting list has increased by almost a quarter (+865 or 24%) since the start of 2022 and has almost doubled (+2,094 or +90%) since the start of 2020.6 Despite the Government’s €443 million Waiting List Action Plan, which set a target to reduce waiting lists by 10% by the end of the year, the number of children on NTPF waiting lists has actually increased by 3,800 (4%) since the start of 2023, instead of reducing by an expected 5,600 by the end of July. The Association warns that these lists are expected to increase further over the coming months due to a predictable surge in autumn and winter respiratory illnesses and a potential new wave of Covid, leading to further cancellations of schedule care. Commenting on today’s waiting lists, IHCA President Professor Robert Landers, said: “The monthly NTPF figures have recorded over 100,000 children on waiting lists for hospital care for the fifth consecutive month, with one in five of these children waiting longer than a year to be treated or assessed in public hospitals. This is resulting in thousands of children not getting the care they need in a timely way, and the real possibility that they will suffer serious and lasting health and developmental issues that could have been reversed or mitigated against if only they were seen in time. “Every single number is an individual child or young person who could be experiencing pain, and a family that may be suffering psychological distress at not knowing when their child will be able to receive treatment. This is a wholly unacceptable situation. Young patients and their parents should not have to fight for care. “As Consultants, we need and want sustainable solutions to help alleviate this distress and provide the care these children so desperately need. However, we have unresolved hospital capacity deficits and Consultant vacancies that is not being addressed urgently enough. These twin deficits must be addressed by the Government in October’s Budget.” ENDS Notes: 1. Latest NTFP data as at end July 2023: https://www.ntpf.ie/home/nwld.htm 2. HSE PQ response to Deputy David Cullinane, 23 June 2023: https://www.ihca.ie/_fileupload/NDTP%20Response%20to%20PQ%2027483%2023%20Deputy%20David%20Cullinane%2023062023.pdf 3. Dáil PQ response from Minister Stephen Donnelly to Deputy David Cullinane, 4 May 2023: https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates/question/2023-05-04/249/#pq_249 4. HSE PQ response to Deputy Róisín Shortall, 27 July 2003; https://www.ihca.ie/_fileupload/HSE%20PQ%20response%20CAMHS%20by%20CHO%20age%20category%20and%20time%20waiting%20R%C3%B3is%C3%ADn%20Shortall%2027072023.pdf 5. HSE PQ response to Deputy Peadar Tóibín, 31 January 2023; https://www.hse.ie/eng/about/personalpq/pq/2023-pq-responses/february-2023/pq-4887-23-peadar-toibin.pdf 6. Appendix to HSE PQ response to Deputy to Peadar Tóibín, 23 November 2022; https://www.ihca.ie/_fileupload/PQ%2058978-22%20Deputy%20Peader%20Toibin%20re%20CAMHS%20Wait%20list%20for%20past%205%20years%20Appendix.pdf Media contact: Niamh Kinsella | firstname.lastname@example.org | +353 (0)87 921 9711
26th July 2023
Comment by the Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) on today’s (26 July) publication of the independent report by the Mental Health Commission into the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS).
14th July 2023
More pain for patients on waiting lists as Government action plan set to significantly miss end of year targets
Mid-point of Action Plan shows increases in waiting lists, as new data reveals worsening Hospital Consultant staffing crisis – IHCA 890,800 people on some form of public hospital waiting list; up more than 20,700 this year and by an additional 307,000 people since Sláintecare; 17,165 added to three main waiting lists in the first half of 2023, missing Government reduction target by 51,650; €443m Waiting List Action Plan unlikely to meet target of reducing waiting lists by 69,000 (10%) by end of 2023; Number of unfilled Consultant posts rises to 933 – a 28% increase (+206) in vacant or temporary filled posts in just two years; Urgent action needed to address public hospital capacity deficits and Consultant vacancies, say Consultants. IHCA President Prof Robert Landers: “The 2023 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 Government needs to urgently increase public hospital capacity to treat the increasing number of patients on waiting lists.” The Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) has today (Friday 14 July 2023) warned that inaction by the Government to urgently address the root causes of hospital capacity deficits and Consultant shortages will mean the targets set out in its Waiting List Action Plan for 2023 will not be achieved.
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