Statement from the Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) on the Department of Health Ministerial briefing, 6 August 2020:
Commenting on today’s media reports on the briefing documents prepared by the Department of Health for the new Minister, Stephen Donnelly TD, IHCA President, Donal O’Hanlon said:
“This briefing further confirms that what was bad has become worse. Coupled with recent HSE confirmation that we face a winter like no other, it shows that those in charge know there is a crisis. If government does not urgently prioritise the funding, development and implementation of practical plans towards addressing consultant recruitment and hospital capacity, what we all know may happen this winter, will happen. We simply cannot entertain the possibility of a more than 100% increase on acute hospital waiting lists in 2020, with over 800,000 people already waiting months, in some cases years, to see a consultant or receive treatment. We have grave concerns about the reduced health outcomes for these people, and the wider long-term side effect on our nation’s health.
“We know what the problems are and we know what it takes to fix them—more consultants, more beds and measures to free-up capacity. We must urgently fill the 500 vacant consultant posts without delay if we are to tackle the increasing waiting lists. There is no time to lose. We need early, fully-funded decisions with cross government backing. If we adopt the same approach as before with no clarity on funding until December, then it is simply too late.”