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Significant number of vacant consultant posts in North West - Martin Kenny TD

31 July, 2018 - by Martin Kenny TD

Speaking this morning Martin Kenny TD raised serious concern over figures release from the HSE which shows there are 10 vacant consultant posts in hospitals in the North West.

Deputy Kenny 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 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 my colleague Louise O’Reilly TD 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.

“Indeed, here in the North West hospitals in Sligo, Leitrim, Roscommon and Donegal there are ten vacant consultant posts in extremely important specialities such as psychiatry, radiology and microbiology.

“The situation is mirrored around the State with 33 vacant consultant posts at Cork University Hospital and up to 18 in Galway University Hospital.

“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, and the Ireland-East Hospital Group, which includes the Mater and St Vincent’s hospitals.

“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; but 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 and come up with a plan to address the situation because continuing on this current trajectory is dangerous for patients, staff, and the health service."

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