15th September 2023
896,700 people on some form of NTPF waiting list; which is up more than 26,600 (3%) this year alone and by an additional 313,000 (+54%) people since Sláintecare; Government significantly ‘behind target’ of 10% reduction in waiting lists by end of 2023; already facing a 63,700 shortfall; This is despite the NTPF removing 49,500 patients from hospital waiting lists in the first six months of the year without any treatment, as part of ‘validation’ scheme. The Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) has today (Friday, 15 September 2023) questioned claims by the Department of Health that the Government’s Waiting List Action Plan is running ‘ahead of target’.
11th August 2023
Failure to ensure timely care for young patients due to capacity deficits as 1 in 12 children remain stuck on stubbornly high waiting lists – says IHCA 100,800 children on some form of NTPF waiting list; with 1 in 5 (20,600) waiting longer than a year for treatment or assessment in public hospitals; Additional 8,900 children awaiting diagnostic scans at the three Dublin children’s hospitals not included in NTPF waiting lists; Over 4,400 children on CAMHS waiting lists – almost double the number compared with the start of 2020; IHCA President Prof Robert Landers: “Thousands of children are not getting the care they need in a timely way. There is a real possibility that they will suffer serious 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 August 2023) expressed its continuing concern at the excessive number of children waiting for an appointment to be treated or assessed in public hospitals. The warning from Consultants comes as the latest National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) figures released today reveal that 895,700 people were on some form of hospital waiting list at the end of July, including almost 100,800 children and young people.1 While a recent report highlighted the extent of extreme capacity shortages in Ireland’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), the IHCA’s analysis shows that similar capacity deficits are resulting in lengthy waiting lists across a number of paediatric specialties, including Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT), Dermatology, Orthopaedics and Cardiology – with some being forced to wait months or years for assessment or treatment. The IHCA said that difficulty in filling permanent Consultant posts and growing hospital and mental health capacity deficits against increases in demand are the root causes of the unacceptably long child waiting lists. One in five (20,600) children are waiting longer than a year for treatment or assessment by a hospital Consultant. Latest HSE data reveals the number of unfilled permanent Consultant posts has risen to a record 933.2 This is the highest Consultant vacancy rate ever. Hospital diagnostics are not included in NTPF data which accounts for an additional 8,916 children awaiting CTs, MRIs or ultrasounds at the three Dublin paediatric hospitals alone, bringing the total number awaiting care to almost 110,000 – or 1 in 12 children in the country.3 In addition, a near record 4,421 children4 were on separate CAMHS waiting lists at the end of May 2023 – 128 (3%) additional children added so far this year.5 The CAMHS waiting list has increased by almost a quarter (+865 or 24%) since the start of 2022 and has almost doubled (+2,094 or +90%) since the start of 2020.6 Despite the Government’s €443 million Waiting List Action Plan, which set a target to reduce waiting lists by 10% by the end of the year, the number of children on NTPF waiting lists has actually increased by 3,800 (4%) since the start of 2023, instead of reducing by an expected 5,600 by the end of July. The Association warns that these lists are expected to increase further over the coming months due to a predictable surge in autumn and winter respiratory illnesses and a potential new wave of Covid, leading to further cancellations of schedule care. Commenting on today’s waiting lists, IHCA President Professor Robert Landers, said: “The monthly NTPF figures have recorded over 100,000 children on waiting lists for hospital care for the fifth consecutive month, with one in five of these children waiting longer than a year to be treated or assessed in public hospitals. 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 serious and lasting health and developmental issues that could have been reversed or mitigated against if only they were seen in time. “Every single number is an individual child or young person who could be experiencing pain, and a family that may be suffering psychological distress at not knowing when their child will be able to receive treatment. This is a wholly unacceptable situation. Young patients and their parents should not have to fight for care. “As Consultants, we need and want sustainable solutions to help alleviate this distress and provide the care these children so desperately need. However, we have unresolved hospital capacity deficits and Consultant vacancies that is not being addressed urgently enough. These twin deficits must be addressed by the Government in October’s Budget.” ENDS Notes: 1. Latest NTFP data as at end July 2023: https://www.ntpf.ie/home/nwld.htm 2. HSE PQ response to Deputy David Cullinane, 23 June 2023: https://www.ihca.ie/_fileupload/NDTP%20Response%20to%20PQ%2027483%2023%20Deputy%20David%20Cullinane%2023062023.pdf 3. Dáil PQ response from Minister Stephen Donnelly to Deputy David Cullinane, 4 May 2023: https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates/question/2023-05-04/249/#pq_249 4. HSE PQ response to Deputy Róisín Shortall, 27 July 2003; https://www.ihca.ie/_fileupload/HSE%20PQ%20response%20CAMHS%20by%20CHO%20age%20category%20and%20time%20waiting%20R%C3%B3is%C3%ADn%20Shortall%2027072023.pdf 5. HSE PQ response to Deputy Peadar Tóibín, 31 January 2023; https://www.hse.ie/eng/about/personalpq/pq/2023-pq-responses/february-2023/pq-4887-23-peadar-toibin.pdf 6. Appendix to HSE PQ response to Deputy to Peadar Tóibín, 23 November 2022; https://www.ihca.ie/_fileupload/PQ%2058978-22%20Deputy%20Peader%20Toibin%20re%20CAMHS%20Wait%20list%20for%20past%205%20years%20Appendix.pdf Media contact: Niamh Kinsella | firstname.lastname@example.org | +353 (0)87 921 9711
14th July 2023
More pain for patients on waiting lists as Government action plan set to significantly miss end of year targets
Mid-point of Action Plan shows increases in waiting lists, as new data reveals worsening Hospital Consultant staffing crisis – IHCA 890,800 people on some form of public hospital waiting list; up more than 20,700 this year and by an additional 307,000 people since Sláintecare; 17,165 added to three main waiting lists in the first half of 2023, missing Government reduction target by 51,650; €443m Waiting List Action Plan unlikely to meet target of reducing waiting lists by 69,000 (10%) by end of 2023; Number of unfilled Consultant posts rises to 933 – a 28% increase (+206) in vacant or temporary filled posts in just two years; Urgent action needed to address public hospital capacity deficits and Consultant vacancies, say Consultants. IHCA President Prof Robert Landers: “The 2023 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 Government needs to urgently increase public hospital capacity to treat the increasing number of patients on waiting lists.” The Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) has today (Friday 14 July 2023) warned that inaction by the Government to urgently address the root causes of hospital capacity deficits and Consultant shortages will mean the targets set out in its Waiting List Action Plan for 2023 will not be achieved.
9th June 2023
893,600 people on some form of NTPF waiting list; and a further 250,000 people waiting for diagnostic scans; Hospital cancellations could exceed 250,000 this year if rate continues; with 85,000 operations and appointments already cancelled to end of April; ED attendances increased by 461,000 (38%) over the past decade, with average wait times now approaching 12 hours – double the target in 2013; It is the first time in six months that the number of people on the outpatient waiting list has totalled over 600,000; IHCA President Prof Robert Landers: “The Minister for Health recently announced a rapid build programme to deliver 1,500 additional beds in acute public hospitals to be opened this year and in 2024. The Government needs to commit the promised €1 billion capital budget for the additional capacity urgently.” Patients have been subjected to a decade of overcrowding in our emergency departments (EDs) which continues to drive up waiting lists for hospital treatment and negatively impact patient outcomes, Consultants have warned.
12th May 2023
While number of people waiting more than 12 months for hospital treatment starts to climb again, Government can deliver immediate improvements – say Consultants ED attendances up 104,000 compared with 2019, leading to 41,000 cancellations in first two months of 2023; Over 1.1m people waiting for some form of hospital care - with 888,600 people on NTPF waiting lists1 and a further 250,000 people waiting for diagnostics2; Number of 'long-waiters' for treatment has increased by 12% since start of the year; and has risen 22-fold over the past decade; IHCA President Prof Robert Landers: “It is only when hospital and step-down care capacity levels are increased sufficiently, and additional Consultants appointed, will we see treatment volumes in public hospitals match demand and effectively reduce current unmanageable waiting lists on a sustainable basis.” The Government has a real opportunity to address overcrowding and start to tackle extreme waiting lists in Irish hospitals within the next two years, Consultants have said.
14th April 2023
Waiting list targets may never be met due to record high bed occupancy rates and appointment cancellations
Government must reduce record 95% bed occupancy rates by rapidly delivering extra capacity in our hospitals if waiting lists are to be addressed; 41,000 appointments and operations cancelled in January and February alone will further increase pressure on Waiting List Action Plan for 2023; 885,600 people on some form of public hospital waiting list at end of March; an increase of 15,500 since the start of the year and an additional 300,000 (52%) compared with May 2017 when Sláintecare published; Consultant vacancies remain at record high of 915 permanent posts vacant or filled on a temporary basis; IHCA President Prof Robert Landers: “Occupancy rates at this extreme level result in regular bed shortages, increased numbers of admitted patients being treated on trolleys, higher levels of healthcare acquired infections and cancellation of appointments in addition to growing waiting lists.” The Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) has today (Friday 14 April 2023) warned that waiting list reduction targets for 2023 will never be met unless hospital bed occupancy rates are significantly reduced by rapidly delivering extra capacity in our public hospitals.
10th March 2023
Lowered reduction targets for end of 2023 dependent on removing record 146,000 patients through ‘validation’ of lists 14,800 people added to three main waiting lists in the first two months of 2023, missing Government reduction target by over 26,000; Consultants criticise lack of ambition of Government’s new Action Plan which lowers previous reduction target of 18% to 10% this year; a 4% reduction was achieved in 2022; Projected cuts in waiting lists are dependent on NTPF removing 146,000 people without any treatment through ‘validation programme’; more than double the validation target of 60,000 in last year’s Action Plan; 885,000 people on some form of public hospital waiting list at end of February; an increase of 300,000 (52%) compared with May 2017 when Sláintecare published; Latest €443m Action Plan unlikely to meet waiting list targets unless Government addresses public hospital capacity deficits and Consultant vacancies, say Consultants. IHCA President Prof Robert Landers: “The NTPF figures released today confirm our fears that these waiting lists may take a decade or more to get under control without simultaneously resolving the severe capacity deficits in our public hospitals and filling the one in five Consultant posts vacant or filled on a temporary basis.”
13th January 2023
Waiting List Action Plan fails to deliver as almost 900,000 people on hospital waiting lists, 900 patients treated on trolleys and over 900 Consultant posts vacant, says IHCA
15th December 2022
Government on course to significantly miss waiting list reduction targets as over 1 million people await hospital care
€70 million allocated to Waiting List Action Plan left unspent as one-fifth of the population remain on waiting lists
11th November 2022
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.
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