Irish Consultants warn of risks to patient safety

The President of the Irish Hospital Consultants’ Association, Dr Gerard Crotty, has warned that long-term damage to the quality of patient care may occur because of the on-going crisis in medical recruitment.

He said that hospital consultants were at the forefront of patient safety and quality developments – citing their unique role as Clinical Directors – and through a number of patient safety and quality initiatives being implemented in Irish hospitals.

“Due to the unprecedented and crude cuts, resources in the acute hospital system and the mental health services are inadequate. This is leading to an increase in clinical risk and threatens patient safety,” he said.

He also said that the problem was particularly severe in Emergency Departments and that there was increasing evidence that this was leading to increased mortality.

Dr Crotty was responding to a recent European survey which examined patient attitudes on safety. “The need for highly trained medical staff was identified as the number one concern in both Ireland and Europe. The IHCA are very concerned about our limited ability to attract the necessary medical personnel, especially consultants, under current conditions.”

The IHCA’s annual conference takes place this weekend in Cork.

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