IHCA warn that consultant vacancies are impacting patient care

The Irish Hospital Consultants Association is warning that consultant vacancies at North West hospitals resulting in worsening waiting lists and additional agency costs.


The IHCA say that this in turn is restricting patients from accessing timely, high-quality medical and surgical care.


According to figures released by the IHCA Sligo University Hospital and Letterkenny University Hospital combined have more than 45,000 people currently on waiting lists for hospital treatment or an outpatient appointment with a Consultant.1 This is an increase of 12,300 people (37%) since 2015.


The number of patients awaiting inpatient or day case treatment at LUH and SUH has increased by 57% over the past seven years to 6,200, with a worrying five- and six-fold increase respectively in the number waiting longer than a year for essential treatment.


Of the 37,200 people on outpatient waiting lists at both Letterkenny and Sligo Hospitals, a quarter (9,300) are waiting longer than 18 months – the HSE’s maximum wait time target due to be in place by the end of 2022.


The specialties with some of the longest outpatient waiting lists have also seen some of the largest increases over the past seven years include orthopaedics, cardiology, dermatology and general medicine.


In total, between April 2015 and April 2022, there have been an increase of 8,200 people in the outpatient waiting lists at the two hospitals, an increase of 28%. These waiting lists are likely to worsen in the coming months as more people who have put off seeking care during the pandemic need treatment.