The IMO has warned that a “chronic inability” to attract applicants to vacant posts in the health services “across all medical specialties is having a serious detrimental effect on the provision of healthcare in Ireland”.
The Organisation said that Ireland “is significantly below the OECD average” on the number of consultants and GPs required per head of population. The IMO added that the HSE “has failed to attract a single candidate to some advertised posts while more than 1 in 5 consultant posts remain vacant”.
Dr Denis McCauley, Chair of the GP Committee of the IMO, said that doctors currently working in the system were at breaking point.
“After two years of being on the frontline of the Covid-19 battle, doctors are exhausted yet are unable to get a break due to our inability to recruit staff to the system. GPs around the country have been unable to secure locums to allow them to take annual leave, there are no supports to encourage younger GPs to establish in practice and the additional out of hours burden on individual GPs is taking its toll.”
He said that the “current contract does not reflect modern general practice”.
On the consultant side Dr Clive Kilgallen, Chair of the Consultants’ Committee of the IMO, said the recruitment challenge “is unfortunately not a new phenomenon”.
“We simply do not have enough doctors to fill critically important positions all across Ireland, a problem which stems from the enactment of two-tier consultant pay inequality nearly a decade ago, and patients are the ones who have suffered as a result.
“The scale and scope of the problem cannot be overstated; over 900,000 people are on some form of waiting list for treatment, and over 290,000 of those – or more than the population of Galway – have been there for more than a year.”