News

15th July 2022

More failed health targets leave patients waiting longer, says IHCA

New data reveals worsening hospital staffing crisis as 882 Consultant posts now unfilled  903,440 people on some form of public hospital waiting list; up more than 86,000 (11%) since June 2020; 11,300 people added to three main waiting lists in the first half of 2022, missing Government reduction target by 77,500; €350m Waiting List Action Plan unlikely to meet target of reducing waiting lists by 132,000 (18%) by end of 2022;   Number of unfilled Consultant posts rises to 882 – a 21% increase (+155) in vacant or temporary filled posts in just one year; Urgent action needed to address public hospital capacity deficits and Consultant vacancies, say Consultants. IHCA President Prof Alan Irvine: “The 2022 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 NTPF figures released today confirm our 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. Unfortunately, more failed health targets are leaving patients waiting longer.”
27th June 2022

Patient outcomes suffer as waiting lists at hospitals in North-East increase by 40% to over 38,000

Orthopaedics, Dermatology, Gynaecology, and Rheumatology outpatient waiting lists in North-East hospitals increase by 41%, or almost 4,500 additional people, in past seven years;  15,365 people awaiting assessment by a Consultant in Orthopaedics, Dermatology, Gynaecology and Rheumatology at Cavan, Drogheda, Dundalk and Navan hospitals; One in four approved permanent hospital Consultant posts in the North-East are not filled as needed, which is the root cause of delays in providing timely care to the 38,000 people on waiting lists in the region; False economy as North-East hospitals spent €9.6 million on medical agency doctors last year – more than 10% of the national total. IHCA President Prof Alan Irvine: “The severe shortage of Consultants across the North-East region is the main contributor to the unacceptable delays in providing care to patients. The Government must make good on its promise to deliver the extra beds, extra Consultants and extra facilities so badly needed to meet the healthcare needs of the 38,000 people in the North-East currently waiting to be assessed or treated by a hospital Consultant.”
10th June 2022

Years of underinvestment have led to unacceptable hospital waiting lists and long waiting times for patients

Waiting lists in May again top 900,000, due to public hospital capacity deficits; shortage of acute beds, other facilities and Consultant vacancies cause cancellations in essential scheduled care, IHCA warns
8th June 2022

IHCA comment on publication of the Sláintecare Action Plan 2022 by the Minister for Health

Commenting on today’s publication of the Sláintecare Action Plan 2022 by the Minister for Health, the Irish Hospital Consultants Association said:
2nd June 2022

Consultant vacancies at North West hospitals resulting in worsening waiting lists and additional agency costs, says IHCA 

Hospitals in Letterkenny and Sligo have over 45,000 people on waiting lists for assessment or treatment by a Hospital Consultant; an increase of 12,300 (37%) since 2015; Number of patients awaiting inpatient or day case treatment at Letterkenny University Hospital and Sligo University Hospital has increased by 57% over the past seven years;  One quarter (9,300) of those on outpatient waiting lists at LUH and SUH are waiting longer than 18 months for an appointment with a Consultant;  Consultant recruitment crisis in the region evident with as many as 1 in 3 permanent Consultant posts vacant or filled on a temporary or agency basis; Failure to recruit specialists in North West creating a false economy with €9.2m bill for medical agency staff in 2021;  Delays in patient treatment and recruitment crisis must be addressed in reconvened Consultant contract talks with an agreed replacement Independent Chair. IHCA President Prof Alan Irvine: “Failing to recruit Consultant medical and surgical specialists in the North West will inevitably lead to patient harm, poor clinical outcomes, exposure to high compensation costs and increased spending on temporary agency staff. The growing waiting lists and Consultant vacancies in the region highlight once again the false economies that exist in our health system which benefit no one.”
30th May 2022

Sláintecare targets are still decades away from being a reality, say Consultants

Today marks halfway point in Government’s 10-year plan, yet waiting lists and capacity deficits continue to grow as limited progress made
27th May 2022

Lack of long-term vision is failing patients with chronic care needs, says Rheumatology specialist

Focus solely on trying to tackle waiting lists in the short term means public hospitals lack the capacity to treat people who need ongoing care for chronic conditions
13th May 2022

Hospital waiting lists longer than ever at halfway point of 10-year Sláintecare plan, say Consultants

Limited progress made as public hospitals still decades away from achieving Sláintecare wait time targets due to growing capacity deficits 898,000 people on some form of NTPF waiting list; up more than 314,000 (54%) since publication of Sláintecare Report in May 2017;  Government’s landmark plan pledged no-one should wait more than 10 weeks for a public hospital outpatient appointment, yet 345,000 currently on outpatient waiting lists for over 6 months — with almost a 3-fold increase in patients waiting +18 months in past five years; Sláintecare target wait time of just 10 days set for a public hospital diagnostic test; latest figures reveal 143,000 waiting more than 3 months for vital CTs, MRIs or ultrasounds with over 57,000 waiting a year or longer;   Stalled Consultant contract talks must be reconvened with an agreed replacement Independent Chair to address Consultant recruitment crisis and bring waiting lists down.  IHCA President Prof Alan Irvine: “The first five years of the 10-year Sláintecare plan have shown that its waiting list targets are not achievable because public hospitals have a severe shortage of Consultants, theatres, acute beds, diagnostic and other facilities. The continuing deficits in hospital Consultants and public hospital capacity means it could be decades before the waiting time targets set out in Sláintecare can be achieved.”  
4th May 2022

‘Perfect storm’ of pandemic, increased demand and shortage of staff causing worrying delays in Gynaecology care

Lack of modern public hospital facilities, capacity and expertise means those with non-urgent conditions can face significant delays in receiving care – says leading Consultant  Ageing facilities, lack of adequate theatre space and shortage of specialist surgical teams is causing ‘competition’ between Obstetrics and Gynaecology care and creating a trade-off in delivery of women’s health services;  Patients can routinely be waiting up to 6 to 8 months for an assessment, risking delayed diagnoses of gynaecological cancers or preventing timely access to care for painful conditions such as uterine fibroids or endometriosis; Longest average wait times for outpatient gynaecology appointments are at Tallaght (652 days), Ennis (506 days) and Nenagh (355) Hospitals; Hospital Consultant recruitment and retention crisis worsens with more than 830 permanent posts not filled as needed – as regional and smaller hospitals face additional recruitment challenges; Professor Sam Coulter-Smith: “Services that can take patients that would originally have gone to theatre and treat them on an outpatient basis will significantly help to reduce waiting lists – however, you need the space and the staff to do it.” The Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) has today (4 May) warned of mounting delays for people waiting for planned Gynaecology procedures as a result of competition between services for scarce capacity and resources.
21st April 2022

Statement by the Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) on the South Kerry CAMHS Review and Compensation Scheme

Commenting, the President of the IHCA, Professor Alan Irvine said: 
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