Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams has expressed his serious concern at the number of vacancies for consultant posts in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda. His concern follows the publication of figures released to his party colleague Louise O’Reilly about vacant consultant posts in hospitals across the state.
Teachta Adams said:
“Sinn Féin and hospital consultants and their representatives have been stating for some time that there is a recruitment and retention crisis within the health service. The figures released to Deputy O’Reilly confirm that this is a real issue that affects every hospital across the state.
According to the figures there are at least 349 vacant consultant posts in hospitals. In some areas the number involved is deeply worrying.
Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital is among the better resourced but nonetheless there are currently 7 vacant consultant posts within the hospital. All of these impact on essential health services provided in OLOL. There is one consultant less than the number required covering each of the speciality services of dermatology; emergency medicine; geriatric medicine; intensive care; orthopaedic surgery; child and adolescent psychiatry, and psychiatry.
With 2,700 children in the state needing access to Child and Adolescent Psychiatry the lack of 13 such consultant posts in the state, one of which covers Louth and Meath, is a serious concern.
The HSE has tried to paper over the cracks by employing doctors not on the specialist register as consultants and employing locum/agency consultants, but its short term solutions are not working.
The government must urgently address the recruitment and retention crisis affecting consultants and the Minister for Health and the HSE need to engage with representatives of the consultants and draw up a properly resourced plan to fill these posts. The gap in consultants is placing patients and staff under stress and at risk.”