Seán Crowe T.D. has expressed his serious concern at the number of vacancies for consultant posts in Tallaght University Hospital and said it is causing lengthy delays that are putting lives at risk.
The Sinn Féin TD’s concerns follow the publication of figures released through a Dáil question which revealed that there are 349 vacant consultant posts in hospitals across the State, and 9 of them are in Tallaght.
Deputy Seán Crowe said: “Sinn Féin, hospital consultants and their representatives, and other interest groups have been stating for some time that there is a recruitment and retention crisis within the health service. “The figures released following a parliamentary question confirm that this is a real live issue that affects every hospital right across the State.
“According to the figures there are at least 349 vacant consultant posts in hospitals. In some areas the number involved is at crisis level. It is impacting negatively on patient waiting lists, on patients’ health, and on other staff within the hospital system. It is also causing delays in accessing treatment which in turn is putting patients’ lives at risk “Tallaght University Hospital is among the better resourced but nonetheless waiting lists for some specialties are breaking records, while 9 vacant consultant posts remain vacant.
“All of these impact on essential health services provided in Tallaght. There is 1 consultant less than the number required covering each of the speciality services of Dermatology, Anaesthesia, Immunology, and Psychiatry. Otolaryngology is short 2 consultants, while 3 posts remain vacant in Paediatrics.
“The HSE has tried to paper over some of the cracks by employing doctors not on the specialist register as consultants and employing locum/agency consultants, but short term solutions are clearly not delivering for patients as lists are getting longer and many having to travel abroad for care.
“The Minister for Health, Simon Harris, needs to urgently address the recruitment and retention crisis regarding consultants and other key staff. I am calling on the Minister and the HSE to urgently engage with representatives of the consultants and draw up a fully resourced and worked out plan to fill these empty posts.”