Shortage of consultants worse than feared with 728 vacant posts

ireland
Shortage Of Consultants Worse Than Feared With 728 Vacant Posts Shortage Of Consultants Worse Than Feared With 728 Vacant Posts
The Irish Hospital Consultants Association says there is 45 per cent more unfilled consultancy roles than previously thought.
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Digital Desk Staff

There are 45 per cent more vacant consultant roles in Ireland than previously thought according to the Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA).

The IHCA says 728 posts are currently vacant or unfilled on a permanent basis, while 612,000 people are waiting for an appointment with a consultant.

Over 250,000 people have waiting in excess of a year for an outpatient appointment, with the IHCA identifying the south/southwest and western regions as the worst effected.

According to data from the IHCA, the area covering Cork, Waterford, Kerry, South Tipperary and Kilkenny has the highest number of vacant consultancy positions with 117, followed by the region covering Galway Sligo, Donegal, Mayo and Roscommon with 104 unfilled roles.

These regions also have the highest and third highest number of people waiting for an appointment respectively, while the Ireland East Hospital Group, covering Dublin, Westmeath, Kilkenny, Wexford and Meath has the second highest number of people waiting.

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IHCA president, Professor Alan Irvine says the number of unfilled positions is impacting Ireland's ability to provide quality, timely care to patients.

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"Over 600,000 people require specialist medical treatment but our system is not providing the permanent specialist expertise to care for them.

“A major part of this problem is a direct result of this country’s ongoing consultant recruitment and retention crisis, which is continuing throughout the pandemic.

“Reduced availability of specialist care means longer stays in hospital beds, which are already in critically short supply."

Prof Irvine welcomed the increase in hospital spending announced as part of Budget 2021, but said ending the 2012 consultant pay disparity was necessary to end the consultant shortage and the "wasteful expenditure" on more short-term measures.

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