Validation letters are sent to patients asking if they still need their appointment with the HSE, requesting a response within seven days.
However, the practice of removing patients who have, in some cases, been waiting more than a year for an appointment, has been condemned as a “con job”.
Cork GP Dr Nick Flynn said: “They’re removing these patients without knowing if it’s actually safe to remove them.
“That’s a completely blind removal.
“Then they spin it by saying there are 8,000 less people waiting for treatment, which is totally misleading,” he added.
“It’s purely a PR exercise, nothing more. It’s a con job.”