HSE report further confirms the gravity of the current and projected consultant recruitment and retention crisis for patients—Irish Hospital Consultants Association

A Health Service Executive (HSE) report on medical consultant and specialist staffing further confirms the gravity for patients of the current and projected consultant recruitment and retention crisis, the Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) has said.

The organisation was commenting following this morning’s media commentary on the report, which was undertaken by the National Doctors Training and Planning division of the HSE.

The report includes a section which looks at how Ireland compares to other countries with similar models of health service delivery—England, Scotland, Australia and New Zealand. Of the five countries, it finds that Ireland has the lowest number of consultants in a range of medical specialties, including obstetrics and gynaecology, paediatrics, radiology, intensive care and emergency medicine.

The report also projects a 53% rise in the demand for acute hospital based specialty services provided by consultants.

Commenting, Dr Donal O’Hanlon, President of the IHCA said:

“This report further confirms the gravity of the current and projected consultant recruitment and retention crisis for patients. Of the five countries evaluated, Ireland has the lowest number of consultants in most of the specialties assessed including obstetrics and gynaecology, paediatrics, radiology, intensive care and emergency medicine. It also projects a 53% rise in the demand for acute hospital based specialty services provided by consultants.

“Its publication comes at a time when one in five permanent consultant posts are unfilled in our public hospitals. The consequences of the consultant recruitment and retention crisis are unacceptable delays in providing care to patients and record waiting lists which are getting longer as a result of the pandemic.

“The root cause of this crisis is the Government imposed consultant salary inequity since 2012. This must be addressed by the new Government and Minister Donnelly immediately as recommended by the Public Service Pay Commission two years ago. The failure by the former government to rectify it has led to horrendous problems for our acute hospital patients and if not addressed now there will be even more shocking delays for patients in the period ahead.”

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