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Hundreds of vacant consultant posts across the State - Louise O'Reilly TD

30 July, 2018 - by Louise O'Reilly TD

Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Louise O’Reilly TD has today raised serious concern over figures released to her from the HSE which show there are 349 vacant consultant posts in hospitals across the State.

Teachta O’Reilly said:

“For some time now hospital consultants and their representatives have been saying that there is a recruitment and retention crisis within the profession; and the figures released to me regarding vacancy rates for consultants prove not only that this crisis is very real but, that it affects nearly every hospital across the State.

“The figures released to me in a Parliamentary Question response show that there are at least 349 vacant consultant posts across the State. In some areas and hospitals the vacancy rates are beyond worrying.

“For instance, there are currently 33 vacant consultant posts at Cork University Hospital covering extremely important specialties such as Anaesthesia, Cardiology, and General Surgery amongst others.

“The rate of vacant positions is similar in Galway University Hospital where there are 18 unfilled posts covering Emergency Medicine, Orthopaedic Surgery, and Paediatrics amongst others.

“In Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, an area where there are 2,700 children waiting to be seen by the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, there is a staggering 13 vacant consultant posts.

“Indeed, this is not a regional problem. In Dublin and the surrounding areas there are a large number of unfilled positions with 86 vacant consultant posts across a range of specialties throughout the Dublin-Midlands Hospital Group, which includes St James’s and Tallaght hospitals.

"This also includes the Ireland-East Hospital Group, which the Mater and St Vincent’s hospitals are a part of.

“The HSE has tried every way to get around this problem, including employing doctors not on the specialist register as consultants and employing locum/agency consultants. Papering over the cracks and short term solutions are not working.

“It is indisputable that there is a recruitment and retention crisis affecting consultants and the Minister for Health and the HSE need to engage with representatives of consultants to come up with a plan to address the situation.

"Continuing on this current trajectory is dangerous for patients, staff, and the health service."

Editors note:(See attached file: Consultant Vacant Post Locations submitted v1 +.xls)(See attached file: Final Response  PQ 32037 +.pdf)

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