Consultants hit out at waiting lists

The Irish Hospital Consultants’ Association (IHCA) has urged action as waiting lists increase in the North-East.

The organisation says orthopaedics, dermatology, gynaecology and rheumatology outpatient waiting lists in the region’s hospitals increased by 49%, or 5,182 people, over the past six years.

A total of 15,868 people are awaiting assessment by a consultant in those specialties at hospitals in Cavan, Drogheda, Dundalk and Navan. The IHCA claims one in four approved permanent hospital Consultant posts are not filled, leading to delays in providing timely care to the 36,000 people on waiting lists in the region.

Its President Prof Alan Irvine has criticised the situation: “The severe shortage of consultants across the North-East region is the main contributor to the unacceptable delays in providing care to patients. The Government must make good on its promise to deliver the extra beds, extra consultants and extra facilities so badly needed to meet the healthcare needs of the 36,000 people in the North-East currently waiting to be assessed or treated by a hospital consultant.”

That figure represents people across Cavan, Monaghan, Louth and Meath. However, Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda is the worst affected according to the organisation.

It says there are 4,500 people waiting to see a Consultant Dermatologist at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital - an increase of 1,890, or 72% since 2015.

The impact of COVID-19 on waiting lists and the cancellation of some procedures during the fourth wave has also been highlighted.