IHCA Highlights Growing Health Strategy Concerns

The Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) has said that there is growing concern that the Oireachtas Health Strategy will not deal with the overwhelming shortage of hospital beds, operating theatres and intensive care beds, which is creating unacceptable delays for patients in hospitals across Ireland. In the past decade the State has cut acute hospital capacity by 1,400 inpatient beds, when the population has increased by 500,000 over the same period. If these problems are not urgently addressed our public hospitals will continue to fail patients. Dr Tom Ryan, President of the IHCA, said, “The root cause of the problems in our public hospitals is actually quite clear – there is not enough capacity in our public hospitals to effectively provide care to an increasing number of patients. Any realistic strategy must significantly increase the number of acute hospital and ICU beds, and must increase operating theatre capacity, as well as increasing the number of consultants. These are the main constraints that are resulting in the cancellation of surgical appointments and generating an extraordinary increase in waiting lists. Hoping to provide care to an increasing number of patients in the public health system without sufficient capacity does not represent a realistic strategy. It will only perpetuate and exacerbate the current unacceptable delays in treating patients. Unfortunately, the net effect will be to further increase waiting lists if the capacity deficits are not addressed properly.”

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