Hospital consultants warn waiting lists "out of control"

The Irish Hospital Consultants Association has warned of major investment shortfalls in the health service

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Picture by: Tim Ockenden / PA Archive/Press Association Images

Hospital consultants have accused the government of being more interested in balancing budgets than treating patients.

The Irish Hospital Consultants Association is launching its Pre-Budget Submission today.

The group has warned that hospital waiting lists are out of control – adding that infrastructure is out of date with huge investment needed to end waiting lists and replace old equipment.

IHCA president Thomas Ryan said government spending on flagship projects is hiding major shortfalls in other areas.

"When the new capital investment projects - that includes the children's hospital and the relocation of the maternity hospitals - are brought online they will account for the majority of the €3bn capital spend that is proposed,” he said.

"There will be little money left over to replace obsolete equipment or to develop additional capacity.”

He pointed to the state of mental health funding as an illustration of the failure of government to adequate finance the health service.

“The current budget for the mental health services in 2016 remains below the 2008 level so we haven’t seen any realistic attempt to address the budget deficits in Irish healthcare.”

The IHCA warning comes after figures released by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) found that the first half of 2017 saw record overcrowding in Irish hospitals.

51,321 patients were left on trolleys or admitted to overcrowded wards between January and June - a 6% increased compared to the first six months of 2016.

There are currently 300 patients awaiting treatment on trolleys and wards around the country.