There was almost a three-fold increase in the number of new post applications made to the consultant applications advisory committee (CAAC) last year. Some 414 new post applications were made in 2021, compared with 155 in 2020.
According to CAAC’s annual report for 2021, there was also “a noticeable increase in the number of posts recommended for approval at CAAC, with an overall increase of 269 consultant posts recommended for approval (547 in 2021, 278 in 2020) approximately a 90 per cent increase”.
The largest number of posts approved was in general medicine, at 223 posts. This number included 189 new posts, with the remainder a combination of replacement and restructured posts. The next highest specialties were surgery, anaesthesiology, and pathology, with just over 50 posts each.
An IHCA spokesperson told Medical Independent that “simply approving additional consultant posts will not address the staffing crisis that continues to impact the delivery of specialist medical and surgical services and the quality of patient care provided – unless these posts can be filled”.
The CAAC annual report also included requests for changes to titles and qualifications received by the committee in 2021.
These included ‘Consultant Trauma Orthopaedic Surgeon with a special interest in lower limb arthroplasty’, ‘Consultant Respiratory Physician with a special interest in cystic fibrosis’, and ‘Consultant Breast Pathologist’. No changes to qualifications were required following feedback from the relevant postgraduate bodies. Consultation was ongoing regarding ‘Consultant Physician with a special interest in stroke medicine’.