21st February 2024

Consultants urge Government to expedite delivery of electronic health records

Former HSE Head of Digital Transformation believes world leading EHR system can be developed for fraction of the proposed €1.8 billion  Ireland is currently 15 years behind most developed countries when it comes to digital health, says Maynooth University Professor; The health service has potential to ‘leapfrog’ other countries by giving patients access to their personal electronic health record on their phone; Government should publish new digital health strategy and long-awaited Health Information Bill without further delay to bring clarity on Digital Health funding and roll-out targets;  IHCA President Prof Rob Landers says: “This is essential to ensure Ireland has a fit-for-purpose national health information system that enhances patient care and treatment and supports better planning and delivery of health services.” A Professor of Innovation at Maynooth University says that Ireland is in a prime position to develop the most advanced electronic health record (EHR) system in the world if the appropriate strategy and funding is forthcoming from Government.
16th February 2024

IHCA Statement on HSE National Service Plan 2024

“Lack of commitment to open required additional acute hospital beds is wholly inadequate”  The Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) has criticised the lack of commitment in the HSE National Service Plan 2024 to open a specified number of additional general acute hospital beds this year.
9th February 2024

Government cuts funding to waiting list action plan despite growing numbers 

Over 60% of patients on inpatient and day case list currently waiting longer than 3 months for treatment  877,700 people on some form of NTPF waiting list at the end of January 2024; an increase of 8,455 people (1%) in a single month; €407m pledged for Waiting List Action Plan in 2024 is €36m (8%) less than allocation in 2023, despite record growth in demand for treatment; Target to offer treatment to all patients waiting longer than 3 months for one of 20 high-volume procedures not met in 2023; 61% (52,700) of patients on inpatient and day case lists currently waiting longer than 3 months for procedure; IHCA President Prof Rob Landers: “The Government needs to honour its pledge to fund treatment for any clinically suitable patient waiting more than three months on the inpatient and day case waiting list.” The Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) says it is unacceptable that funding to tackle waiting lists is being cut in 2024 by €36 million (8%) compared with the allocation in 2023, despite record growth in demand for treatment.
12th January 2024

Over 100,000 people removed from hospital waiting lists in 2023 did not receive treatment

Modest reduction in waiting lists last year would not have been achieved if not for NTPF ‘validation’ process Record growth in ‘hidden lists’ brings total to over 869,300 people on some form of NTPF waiting list at the end of the year; a reduction of just 766 people (0.1%) compared with start of 2023;  Government Action Plan fails to deliver waiting list target reduction of 69,000 (10%); only 18,800 (3%) taken off three main lists in 2023; Inpatient/day case waiting list increased by almost 4,200 (5%) in past 12 months; Fall of 4% (22,500) in Outpatient waiting list masked by significant 30% (+9,500) increase in Outpatient suspensions by end of December; IHCA President Prof Rob Landers: “The Government needs to expedite its new €407 million Waiting List Action Plan for 2024 and show more ambition in terms of delivering the additional hospital capacity that is required to meets its reduction targets.” New data analysed by the Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) confirms that the modest reduction in waiting lists seen in 2023 would not have been achieved had it not been for the fact that around 105,000 people were removed from hospital waiting lists last year without treatment through a National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) ‘validation’ process.1
8th December 2023

Government set to miss end of year targets as three main waiting lists at virtual standstill

Over 878,500 people on some form of NTPF waiting list at the end of November; NTPF significantly exceeds its target activity levels for 2023, but main waiting lists fall by just 2,600 due to increased demand for treatment; reduction is offset by increases in other hidden lists; Waiting List Reduction target missed by almost 66,400; IHCA President Prof Rob Landers: “There is nothing to suggest we won’t be in the same position come December 2024, looking back at another year of waisted opportunities to put in place realistic bed and theatre capacity to address unacceptable waiting lists.” With just weeks until the end of the year, the Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) has today (8 December 2023) warned that the Government’s €443 million Action Plan for 2023 will not achieve its target to reduce waiting lists for appointments and hospital treatment by 10% (-69,000), compared with the number waiting at the start of 2023. 
6th December 2023

Bed shortage across public hospitals to top 3,000 by 2030 as population growth and demand heap pressure on health service

ESRI’s Dr Brendan Walsh says hospitals face immediate deficit of 1,000 inpatient beds with 300 extra hospital beds needed each year to address population growth and meet demand for care  ESRI research shows immediate 1,000 bed deficit across public hospitals in 2023 and an additional 300 beds required per annum. Expert calls out inability to meet growing demand due to lack of planning for sufficient hospital capacity. Hospitals are unlikely to be able to provide care to a staggering 73,900 additional people on waiting list by the end of the year to meet Government reduction target. Dr Brendan Walsh of the ESRI: “We are now entering a territory where we’re going to have issues regarding strains in the hospital sector and bed deficits for years to come.” A senior researcher with the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) says the Irish health system is currently experiencing a situation where it is unable to keep up with the population’s demand for care. 
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

Spike in the number of children on hospital waiting lists as Flu season approaches

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

Latest figures reveal Government on course to significantly miss waiting list targets for 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

Budget 2024 fails to deliver funding for promised extra hospital capacity – IHCA

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.
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