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Two former IHCA Presidents have highlighted the serious challenges facing the health service. Speaking to this newspaper at the recent IHCA AGM, Consultant Surgeon in St Vincent’s University Hospital, Dublin, Mr Denis Evoy said “equalisation of pay is the most important issue that I would raise with him [Minister for Health Simon Harris] and the recruitment [of consultants] going forward”.
Minister Harris, who had been scheduled to appear, did not attend the AGM. “They [the Government] don’t realise the harm they have done in terms of recruitment, and it is going to take 20 years to reverse that,” Mr Evoy told the Medical Independent (MI).
“It’s even more about conditions at work and it’s getting worse. For instance, accident and emergency … is just becoming untenable to work there. Particularly on the frontline; it’s just terrible.”
Echoing many speakers at the AGM, Mr Evoy noted that consultant posts were not only vacant, but also there was no competition for the posts. “It is a really difficult problem, but it’s going to get worse,” said Mr Evoy.
“One of the great strengths of the Irish health service was a really good competition for consultant places, but that competition is gone now. You would consider
young people not to go into medicine now. It’s not attractive enough.”
Also speaking to MI at the AGM, another former President, Consultant in Intensive Care and Anaesthesia in St James’s Hospital, Dublin, Dr Tom Ryan said that if Minister Harris had attended he would “have asked him, what are you going to do about the waiting lists? What are you going to do about the hospital beds?”
“They need to recruit more consultants and build more hospital beds, to treat more patients. What are they going to do about it? When are they going to do anything?
“They need to do something about it. Are they going to wait until there are over a million people on the waiting list before they do something? Have they no shame?”