News

25th February 2022

IHCA Statement on HSE Waiting List Action Plan

Commenting on today’s publication of the HSE Waiting List Action Plan, the Irish Hospital Consultants Association said:   “We were not consulted in the formulation of this plan so are only seeing it today for the first time. It comes at a time when there is a real credibility issue in our health system.    “That official health policy now provides for patient wait times of up to a year for a procedure and 18 months for initial assessment reflects the scale of the crisis we are now in. Almost 900,000 people are currently on a waiting list with 245,000 of these people waiting over a year for either a procedure or to see a hospital consultant. They are waiting for the primary reasons that we have a massive shortage of the hospital consultants, beds, and theatre facilities required to assess and treat patients in a timely manner.    “There is no detail in the plan on sustainable additional capacity to meet these latest targets. The 45 actions listed in the plan don’t address the fundamental issue of the overwhelming shortage of consultants, acute hospital beds, theatre and other frontline resources. Indications that as much as 25% of care will be outsourced to the private system is questionable given it is unclear that such capacity even exists at this point.  
23rd February 2022

Patients in West and North-West facing delays as hospitals miss out on new beds and struggle with shortage of consultants

Hospitals in Saolta University Health Care Group have some of worst waiting lists in the country as over 143,000 people wait for care;  4,500 additional patients are now waiting longer than a year for inpatient/day case treatment across the Group compared with 2015; Only 36 of the 806 additional acute beds opened nationwide over the past two years were in Saolta Group hospitals – no new acute beds were opened at Galway University Hospitals;  Consultant recruitment crisis and capacity deficits are root cause of delays in providing care, with 1 in 4 permanent Consultant posts vacant or not filled as needed. IHCA President Prof Alan Irvine: “Government needs to progress practical plans to expand hospital capacity and Consultant staffing in the West and North-West, without delay. Health service management must make good on promises to provide the extra Consultants, extra beds and extra hospital facilities so badly needed or we will be grappling with waiting lists in the region for the next decade.” 
11th February 2022

“A patient’s access to care should not depend on where they live”, warns IHCA

Wide disparities found across hospital waiting lists in “postcode lottery”, as patients in Waterford, Limerick, Galway and parts of Cork and Dublin face longest waiting times Hospitals in Cork South-Central, Limerick City and Dublin Central have highest outpatient waiting lists - up to four times the national average;   Analysis comes as over 893,000 people are on some form of NTPF waiting list, including almost 98,000 children - an overall increase of 30,000 in the past year;  Urgent action needed to address public hospital capacity deficits and Consultant vacancies. IHCA President Prof Alan Irvine: “These shocking figures should be a wake-up call to Government to urgently address the twin deficits of a shortage of Consultants and a lack of sufficient public hospital capacity to resolve the record waiting lists we continue to experience. A patient’s access to care should not depend on where they live. The Government needs to address this ‘postcode lottery’ and realise that any waiting list plan which does not simultaneously address the Consultant recruitment and retention crisis is destined to fail. Our patients deserve better.” 
31st January 2022

Gastroenterologist warns of “rapid increase” in Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Ireland as patient waiting lists soar

Limited resourcing, Consultant recruitment challenges in regional hospitals and Covid care has led to long waits for appointments essential to the early detection of IBD and cancer Approximately 40,000 people in Ireland already live with IBD, but delays to treatment are worsening their long-term outcomes and quality of life Dr Brian Egan, Consultant Gastroenterologist at Mayo University Hospital, also notes a rise in acute liver disease and Irritable Bowel Syndrome over the course of the pandemic Almost 17,000 patients are currently on a waiting list to see a Gastroenterologist - an increase of 7,000 (71%) since 2015; but around 1 in 5 permanent Consultant posts remain unfilled as young medical talent continues to leave the Irish health service Dr Brian Egan: “Trying to attract doctors to our regional hospitals with more onerous on-call duties, less resources, and limited access to specialty care is really difficult.” A Consultant Gastroenterologist and Acute Medical Physician at Mayo University Hospital has warned that regional hospitals in Ireland are finding it increasingly difficult to attract the necessary number of Consultants and younger doctors. 
27th January 2022

“Unacceptable reality of a service where resources are stretched too far” - says Consultant body

Statement by the Irish Hospital Consultants Association on recent findings in relation to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services and Consultant shortages
26th January 2022

Nearly 50,000 are waiting for hospital treatment at University Hospital Waterford

Figure is almost equivalent to entire population of Waterford City 43,500 people waiting to be assessed by a Consultant at UHW and almost 5,000 people awaiting inpatient/day case or endoscopy procedures;  This is almost equivalent to the entire population of Waterford City and suburbs, or about 42% of the population of Waterford County.** UHW has largest ENT and Dermatology lists in the entire country as thousands of people wait for an outpatient appointment with a Consultant; Hospital has seen its outpatient and inpatient/day case waiting lists more than double since 2015; One in four approved permanent hospital Consultant posts at UHW are not filled as needed, which is the root cause of delays in providing timely care to patients. IHCA Vice President and Consultant Histopathologist at UHW Prof Rob Landers: “The number of people waiting for hospital treatment at University Hospital Waterford is equivalent to almost the entire population of Waterford City and suburbs. This is an unacceptable situation which is being driven by a severe shortage of hospital Consultants and hospital capacity deficits. The Government must make good on its promise to deliver the extra Consultants, extra beds and extra hospital facilities so badly needed to meet the healthcare needs of the 50,000 people currently waiting to be assessed or treated at UHW.”  
14th January 2022

Another 40,600 people added to hospital waiting lists in past year

Urgent action needed to address public hospital capacity deficits and Consultant vacancies Over 879,000 people on some form of NTPF waiting list, including 96,000 children;  114 people added to public hospital waiting lists every single day throughout 2021; Over 100% increases in outpatient and inpatient/day case waiting lists at some public hospitals over the past 12 months;  One-in-five permanent hospital consultant posts remain vacant or are filled on a temporary basis. IHCA President Prof Alan Irvine: “More people were waiting for hospital treatment at the end of 2021 than at the start of the year, despite a four-month action plan from Government to address the issue. This is simply not good enough, irrespective of the pressures we are facing during this latest Covid wave…we must give priority to it.”
21st December 2021

One third of patients at hospitals across the Midlands are waiting longer than one year for care

35,500 people in the Midlands are waiting to be seen or treated by a Consultant at the region’s acute public hospitals;  Gynaecology, General Surgery, and Orthopaedics account for 75% of those awaiting inpatient/day case hospital treatment; MRH Tullamore has country’s fourth largest ENT outpatient waiting list and fifth largest orthopaedic outpatient waiting list; One in four approved permanent hospital Consultant posts in the Midlands are not filled as needed, which is the root cause of delays in providing timely care patients. IHCA President Prof Alan Irvine: “Every single one of the 35,539 people in the Midlands waiting for public hospital treatment represents a person and a family seeking healthcare, often while experiencing pain, suffering and the psychological distress at not knowing when they will be able to receive treatment. The Government needs to urgently act to resolve the consultant recruitment and retention crisis to facilitate the care these patients so desperately need.”
20th December 2021

‘No child should have to wait more than six weeks for care’, says leading Paediatric Consultant

More children presenting to Emergency Departments for care due to lack of access to Hospital Consultants and Child & Adolescent Psychiatrists in the community 
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