More than 100 fewer new consultant posts were recommended for approval in 2022 compared with 2021, according to the latest consultant applications advisory committee (CAAC) annual report.
There were 305 new posts recommended for approval in 2022, down from 409 in 2021, the report stated.
However, when including ‘restructured’ and ‘replacement’ posts, there was what the CAAC report described as a “slight decrease” of 11 per cent in the number of posts recommended for approval when compared to 2021.
In 2022, there was a total of 503 posts recommended for approval, which contrasted with 568 in 2021.
Last year the largest number of posts approved was in the discipline of general medicine, with 110, followed by psychiatry with 71 posts and emergency medicine with 68.
Separately, the HSE confirmed to the Medical Independent the new consultant contract went live on 8 March.
The HSE provided no timeframe for when all consultants would be contacted about the new contract option, only confirming that “all existing consultants will be contacted as soon as possible”.
“All new consultants appointed to the health service will be offered a public-only contract,” according to the spokesperson.
The new contract has generated a cool reaction from the representative bodies. According to an IHCA survey, some 73 per cent of members stated they were not confident that the new contract would address the recruitment and retention crisis. An IMO ballot of members showed that 57 per cent of current contract holders and 64 per cent of NCHDs would not take up the new contract.