Ireland’s consultant crisis is having a ‘serious effect’ on delivery of women’s healthcare as figures show that 1,783 women are currently waiting for an appointment with a gynaecologist at Letterkenny University Hospital.

There has been a 40% increase nationally in the number of women waiting to see a gynaecologist in five years.

Currently, there are 28,417 women waiting for an appointment across Ireland’s public hospitals, of these, 5,394 are waiting more than a year.

Letterkenny University Hospital has the fifth highest number of women waiting on appointments.

The hospitals with the longest wait times to see a gynaecologist are in Dublin, while Galway, Letterkenny and Limerick had the highest regional figures.

In addition, almost one in five (5,394) women are waiting longer than 12 months to secure an appointment.

Dr. Peter Boylan, Obstetrician and Gynaecologist noted: “Our long wait times are making it difficult for women to be seen in a timely fashion, and that has the effect of making waiting lists unreasonably long. Our waiting times for outpatients are among the worst in the world…and that’s having a really serious effect on their [women’s] health and well-being”.

The Irish Hospital Consultants Association says that the consultant retention and recruitment crisis is having a ‘serious effect’ on the delivery of healthcare to women across Ireland.

The group says that one-in-five or over 500 of all permanent consultant posts nationally are now empty or only temporarily filled, resulting in patients waiting long periods to access essential healthcare services.

They say that consultant salary cuts are driving specialists abroad and new consultants are being paid up to 51% less than their colleagues.

As part of their #CARECANTWAIT campaign, the IHCA says that it is time for the Government to restore pay parity for new consultants.