Sinn Féin have criticised the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly's short-term plan to tackle lengthy hospital waiting lists.
Figures released last month showed that almost 98,000 children are on some form of hospital waiting list. In all, there are currently 897,300 on a hospital waiting list in this country.
David Cullinane, Sinn Féin's health spokesperson, said that the country needs more capacity in public hospitals.
"I think all of this is happening because of a number of reasons, a number of things happening at the same time.
"In the first instance we don't have sufficient bed capacity in our hospitals, and we know that.
"That's despite the fact that we have hundreds of beds that were funded and still not delivered.
"The Minister promised that we would have 50 additional emergency department consultants on stream by the winter, we know that's not going to happen," he said.
Last week, Mr Donnelly said that a new plan to deal with hospital waiting lists has resulted in a “large decrease” in patients waiting more than a year for treatment.
A multiannual plan is being enacted by the government, which also focuses on meeting Sláintecare targets.
On Wednesday, the Government approved a proposal for a new public-only hospital consultant contract, alongside the recruitment of an additional 1,000 consultant.
He said that the new Sláintecare Consultant Contract will reduce waiting times and increase capacity in public hospital.
Of the 97,700 children on waiting lists, one in four have been on their respective list for over a year, figures released in November by the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) show.
An additional 8,000 children are awaiting diagnostic scans at the Dublin children's hospitals. These numbers are not included in the NTPF's figures.
An extra 21 children have been added to waiting lists for scoliosis related surgeries since the beginning of 2022.
Following the release of the figures, the Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) expressed concern at the number of children on waiting lists.
The association said an "extreme" shortage in consultants — due to the difficulty in filling permanent Consultant posts — and long-running capacity issues are the "root causes" of the long waiting lists.