Independent TD Mattie McGrath has described comments made by the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, as an insult to hundreds of thousands of patients who are stuck on lengthy waiting lists. Deputy McGrath was speaking after it emerged that the Taoiseach claimed that one of the reasons we have overruns in the health service budget is down to what he described as a “recruitment surge rather than the recruitment crisis”:
“These are the kind of comments that will simply infuriate parents of children or adolescents who cannot access CAMHS, or mental health patients who have to cope with a recruitment crisis in the psychiatric profession.
This is to say nothing of the tens of thousands of other patients in almost all other specialities who are stuck waiting years because of non-availability of consultants or specialists.
We know this to be the case, because as my Rural Independent Group colleague Dr Harty has consistently pointed out, approximately 500 consultant posts are vacant.
These include 54 in general medicine, 34 in anaesthesiology, 25 in emergency consultants, five in intensive care, 17 in obstetrics, 34 in paediatrics, 56 in pathology, 101 in psychiatry, 37 in radiology, 57 in general surgery, four in medical oncology and three in cardiology at least.
The Taoiseach is clearly not living in the real world with comments like this.
Now if he is not capable of recognising the scale of the problem then how on earth can we expect him or his government to address it,” concluded Deputy McGrath.