Reduced theatre capacity at University Hospital Galway is resulting in long waiting lists for elective operations and is even affecting the scheduling of urgent cancer surgery according to the IHCA.
The Irish Hospital Consultants Association says that even before the winter emergency plan UHG was operating under a rolling 1 in 3 theatre closure policy.
The havoc this is causing on waiting lists for operations is resulting in increased numbers of people presenting at the already overburdened emergency department.
Dr Donal O’Hanlon, President of the IHCA, said the vast numbers of patients being treated on trolleys is connected to the amount of elective but essential surgeries which have been deferred for part or all of January because of capacity issues.
“It is unacceptable that, in a developed economy such as Ireland, hundreds of critically-ill patients who are admitted to hospitals on a daily basis cannot be provided with a bed and are being treated on trolleys.”
“In 2018 over 108,000 ill patients were admitted to hospital yet had to wait on a hospital trolley for an acute bed to become available,” Dr O’Hanlon said, “This is the highest number ever.”
The IHCA has said that it is alarmed at the complacency being displayed at addressing the deficit in capacity for elective operations and mental health services.
The failure to replace 1,400 inpatient beds which have closed in Irish hospitals since 2006 is a major concern said Dr O’Hanlon.
As is the lack of a “realistic plan” to commission the additional 2,600 acute beds needed within 5 years as recommended last year in the Capacity Review, the IHCA claims.
The IHCA also says that the government’s health policy “blatantly discriminates” against new consultants, and is driving highly trained doctors abroad.
With a growing demand on our health services by a population that is both expanding and aging, the government needs to take action to fill vacant consultant position the groups insists.