Health officials are warning it will take months and not weeks to fix the problems associated with the recent HSE cyberattack.
A record 883,000 people are now on hospital waiting lists and 21,000 patients are waiting over a year for crucial treatment.
The situation has been made worse because of the pandemic and the recent cyberattack.
Dr Gabrielle Colleran from the Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) says staff shortages is also a major problem.
She said: “We just don't have enough consultants, we field half a team every day, and we do amazingly well for the numbers we have. When you have the lowest number of consultants per capita, that affects how early people can be seen in outpatients. We just don't have enough staff on the team.”
Anne O’Connor, HSE chief operations officer, said the pace of recovery work following the cyberattack has been “extraordinary” but there was still “an awful long way to go”.
“People just don’t understand the scale of what we are dealing with - this isn’t just one service; this is our whole health infrastructure,” she said.
“It’s not just that our system has been damaged. It has kind of been destroyed so there is a lot of rebuilding of the whole system going on.”
In a previous interview, Dr Paolo Palmieri, a cyber security lecturer at University College Cork, told breakingnews.ie that it may be days or weeks before individuals are targeted, warning that fraudulent schemes and identity theft could occur if the information is sold on the dark web.
“It will become evident when further attacks including attempted fraud and identity theft start occurring probably on a mass scale on the people whose data was leaked.
“It could take days, or weeks. In the case of identity theft it may be a bank receiving a call from a person who pretends to be the victim of identity theft. It may take months for the real victim to find out, and then it might be too late as they could have loans in their name withdrawn by cyber criminals. This happens a lot unfortunately.”