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 
17th December 2021

Medical Council trainee doctor report confirms recruitment crisis, warns IHCA

44% of trainee specialist doctors indicate intention to go abroad to practise medicine;  86% of doctors in training consistently working over 40 hours a week; 46% work over 48 hours; Ireland has lowest number of specialist doctors in EU;  “At a time when we need more doctors, we’re losing them” — IHCA President, Alan Irvine  The Irish health system is losing its future Hospital Consultants at an alarming rate despite the huge need for them here, the Irish Hospital Consultants Association has warned. 
10th December 2021

‘Damning picture’ of hospital waiting lists reveals real scale of increases in waiting times for care this year

Over 897,000 people waiting to be treated or assessed by a hospital Consultant across the country;  An increase of more than 58,400 people added to the lists so far in 2021; Inroads in main outpatient and inpatient/day case lists are offset by escalating delays in other lists such as planned procedures;  Ongoing Consultant contract discussions critically important to filling the 1 in 5 vacant consultant posts and reducing waiting lists. IHCA President Prof Alan Irvine: “The scale and complexity of what the health service now faces over the winter months and into 2022 is unprecedented. We have a backlog of care greater than anything we have seen over the past decade. We are not bringing these lists under control quick enough and the lack of progress this year is really damning.”
9th December 2021

Children’s hospital care ‘a ticking time bomb’: over 200 additional consultants needed within next 7 years

Over 97,000 children now on hospital waiting lists across the country—1 in 12 children in Ireland; 38,600 children waiting over 12 months for care, with 29,000 waiting more than 18 months;  Children waiting excessively long for care could suffer life-long health and developmental issues; IHCA President, Professor Alan Irvine: “We must make the recruitment of additional paediatric consultants a priority now. Conditions which could have been reversed or mitigated against are deteriorating. We’re facing a ticking time bomb of children suffering health and developmental issues due to delays in accessing care.” The Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) has today (9 December 2021) called on health service leaders to address the severe consultant shortages in paediatric care, warning of a ‘ticking time bomb’ in children’s hospital care. 
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