Irish Medical Organisation

IMO warns that hospital waiting list crisis is “directly linked to HSE’s inability to recruit Consultants”

New Public Appointments Service figures confirm crisis in recruitment of Consultants with no applicants, unsuitable applicants and cancelled recruitment campaigns now commonplace.

The Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) has said that the hospital waiting list crisis is inextricably linked to the HSE’s failure to recruit Consultants and there will be no progress on tackling waiting lists as long as 400 Consultant posts remain unfilled.  The most recent statistics on waiting lists show that 684,000 patients are now waiting for attention.

Speaking today Dr. Peadar Gilligan, Chairman of the Consultant Committee of the IMO, said; “The Public Appointments Service (PAS) has produced figures which highlight that the HSE is now finding it almost impossible to recruit Consultants.  We estimate there are 400 unfilled Consultant posts at present and the PAS figures confirm that the HSE either can’t attract applicants or fill vacancies (key figures from PAS: 8 of 83 posts advertised received NO applications...43 posts received less than 2 applicants and the PAS said it could not identify a suitable applicant for 22 of the 84 posts advertised).

Dr. Gilligan said; ‘The fact that the HSE has had to abandon one in ten advertising campaigns for Consultants is a stunning indication of the extent of the problem.  For many years Government policy has been an obstacle to encouraging doctors to stay in the Irish public health services or to attract applicants back from abroad.”

Dr. Gilligan continued; “We have a situation where new entrant consultants are paid less than their colleagues for the same work, agreed contracts are breached and consultants are forced into protracted legal action to secure their entitlements and the environment in which they work effectively stops them from delivering timely care to patients. No wonder our Consultants are voting with their feet and resigning from the Irish health services.  We need a consultant delivered service in our hospitals and at the moment that is nothing more than an aspiration.”

Dr. Gilligan also criticised the continued use of the National Treatment Purchase Fund; “the NTPF is not a cure, it is a sticking plaster which sees money which should be going to our public hospitals being diverted to private, profit making hospitals.  The NTPF will actually delay a proper recovery of our health services.”

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