News

11th November 2022

Hospital crisis impacts on most vulnerable as child waiting lists surge

1 in 12 children are on some form of hospital waiting list due to growing Consultant vacancies and worsening capacity deficits, says IHCA  98,000 children on some form of NTPF waiting list; more than 1 in 4 (27,000) waiting longer than a year for treatment or assessment in public hospitals, due to capacity deficits and an extreme shortage of Consultants; Additional 8,000 children awaiting diagnostic scans at the three Dublin children’s hospitals not included in NTPF waiting lists;  21 additional children (+9%) added to waiting lists for scoliosis related surgeries since start of the year; Record 918 permanent Consultant posts not filled as needed at end of September, 23% of the total approved posts; an increase of 190 unfilled Consultant posts (+26%) in past two years; New Consultant contract must provide attractive working conditions to persuade Irish trained specialists to return home from abroad, fill the vacant Consultant posts and address unacceptable waiting lists. IHCA President Prof Robert Landers: “The monthly NTPF figures have recorded 98,000 children on waiting lists for hospital care, with more than one in four of these children waiting longer than a year to be treated or assessed in public hospitals due to capacity deficits and an extreme shortage of Consultants. 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 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 November 2022) expressed its extreme concern at the number of children now waiting for an appointment to be treated or assessed in public hospitals.
3rd November 2022

Leading Economist says health service supply-demand issues have created a ‘rationing of care’ as almost 1 in 5 people on hospital waiting lists

Dr Brian Turner compares health service capacity challenges to “climbing Skellig Michael”  Ireland has one of the lowest number of public hospital beds on a population basis and the fewest specialist doctors per capita – both around 40% less than the EU average; Proportion of medical graduates vs foreign-trained doctors in the health service points to serious recruitment and retention failings when it comes to home-grown medical and surgical talent; 1,400 specialists have voluntarily withdrawn their registration from the Medical Council since the pay inequity was imposed by Government on Consultants appointed since October 2012; Dr Turner: “It’s going to be a very challenging climb to get to where we need to be. Focus must remain on improving the health service...we need to make sure the Government keeps on track.” A leading Economist and Lecturer at Cork University Business School has said the Irish health service is effectively having to “ration care” through long waiting lists and wait times for care, as a result of serious capacity and resourcing deficits. 
24th October 2022

Over 288,500 people in Dublin face longer waits for care this winter as Government’s waiting lists plan fails to deliver in capital’s hospitals

Almost a quarter of a million people on outpatient waiting lists at Dublin hospitals (243,255); an increase of 9,500 people this year alone; Number of patients waiting longer than a year for hospital treatment has increased by 18% since 2015, with a massive 3-fold increase in children waiting longer than 12 months for care; Consultant vacancies in Dublin’s acute hospital and mental health services now account for a third of all Consultant posts unfilled on permanent basis nationally. IHCA President Prof Robert Landers: “Our health service, hospital management and medical teams in the capital need to fill the almost 300 vacant permanent Consultant posts across Dublin’s acute hospital and mental health services and significantly increase hospital capacity, ahead of yet another challenging autumn and winter for patients in desperate need of timely care.” 
14th October 2022

Patients suffer ‘decade of despair’ as 10-year Consultant pay inequity sees surge in waiting lists and poorer health outcomes

Latest waiting list figures expose real impact of Government’s decision in 2012 to cut new Consultant pay Outpatient waiting lists have surged by 240,000 (62%) and Inpatient/day case waiting lists have increased by almost 30,000 (60%) over the past decade; More than a 100-fold increase in patients waiting longer than a year for hospital treatment; Number of permanent Consultant posts not filled as need has increased exponentially in past decade to more than 900, 22% of the total approved posts;  New Consultant contract must provide attractive working conditions for existing Consultants, doctors in training and specialists abroad required to fill vacant posts in our public hospitals. IHCA President Prof Robert Landers: “Irish patients have suffered a decade of despair because they are continually denied the timely hospital treatment that they need due to the increasing shortage of hospital Consultants. Since the salary inequity was imposed the number of permanent Consultant posts not filled as needed has increased exponentially to more than 1 in 5. Government policy is driving Consultants abroad, where they are welcomed with adequate staffing levels, funded services and better conditions.”
11th October 2022

HSE Winter Plan fails to address threat of ‘twindemic’ - IHCA

‘Twindemic’ of flu and Covid has potential to overwhelm our public hospital and their EDs this autumn and winter; Severe capacity problems in public hospitals continue to go unaddressed, with promised hospital beds yet to be opened; Significant doubt over plan to recruit 51 additional ED Consultants given current recruitment timelines of over 500 days and the ongoing exodus of medical and surgical specialists, says IHCA. Commenting on the publication of the HSE Winter Plan 2022-23 today (Tuesday 11 October 2022), Professor Robert Landers, President of the Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) said: 
30th September 2022

“Laser-Like focus needed on the two things every patient relies upon the most—beds and Consultants” — warns IHCA President

Waiting lists, staff vacancies and burnout levels among Consultants all continue to grow •    Ireland’s hospital Consultants meet to discuss the causes and impacts of 910,000 people waiting to be assessed and treated; •    Over 900 permanent hospital Consultant posts vacant or not filled as needed; •    Almost 8 in every 10 Consultants are screening positive for burnout; •    “Getting contract discussions right a watershed moment for those patients waiting too long for care.” – Prof. Rob Landers
27th September 2022

Disappointing health budget for 2023 lacks essential basics of adequate beds, staffing and resources to provide care for almost 1 million patients

Irish Hospital Consultants Association – Statement on Budget 2023 Announcement  The Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) today, Tuesday 27 September 2022, acknowledged the provisions in Budget 2023, but it warns that it does not address the decade-long public hospital capacity deficits that are the root causes of the unacceptable public hospital waiting lists, which now stand at almost 1 million people awaiting assessment and treatment.  
13th September 2022

New IHCA President warns Government of patients’ continued plight, if Consultant shortages are not addressed

Prof Robert Landers appointed as President of Consultant body The Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) has announced that Professor Robert Landers, Consultant Histopathologist at University Hospital Waterford, has been appointed as the new President of the Association.
9th September 2022

Record waiting lists could spiral further before end of year as over 900 Consultant posts remain unfilled

No waiting list plan will ever work without addressing shortage of Consultants Waiting lists may increase by over 20,000 in 2022 instead of target reduction of 132,000 (18%) despite €350 million Waiting List Action Plan;  Record 910,000 people on some form of public hospital waiting list – surpassing previous high set in September 2021; up more than 68,000 (8%) since August 2020; 49,500 people removed from waiting lists without any treatment in first six months of 2022 through ‘validation’ of lists at a cost of €3m;  Number of unfilled Consultant posts rises to over 900 for first time as spend on medical agency staff increases by 25% in first half of 2022 compared with same period in 2021; Urgent action needed to address public hospital capacity deficits and Consultant vacancies. IHCA President Prof Alan Irvine: “Not one of the 45 actions listed in the 2022 Waiting List Action Plan addresses the fundamental issue of the overwhelming shortage of Consultants, public hospital beds, theatre and other frontline resources. The Government and health service management needs to engage with the IHCA and agree a realistic and properly funded plan with ambitious waiting lists targets. This can only be achieved by addressing the ongoing and deteriorating Consultant recruitment and retention crisis and ending the pay discrimination imposed on Consultants appointed since October 2012.”
1st September 2022

“At a time when we need more specialist Consultants and doctors, we are losing them at an alarming rate”- IHCA 

Commenting on today’s publication of the Medical Council’s ‘Medical Workforce Intelligence Report 2021’, the Irish Hospital Consultants (IHCA) said that the Irish health system is losing its highly trained specialists and future Hospital Consultants at an alarming rate, after the report revealed a quarter of all doctors who voluntarily withdrew their registration last year were specialists. 
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