Even HSE's staff fear for care of sick loved ones
Nearly one in three health service staff admits they would not be happy with the standard of care available if a relative or friend needed treatment.
And only 47pc of its own workers believe that the Health Service Executive's (HSE) top priority is to care for its patients.
The worrying findings have emerged in the first survey of a possible 121,524 health service employees - which just 8,627 opted to respond to.
Another striking finding was that, in the last month, almost half saw errors that could hurt patients and clients.
But only four in 10 believe a worker who reports errors or near-misses would be treated fairly.
A picture emerges of a workforce which enjoys good job and pension security, with one- third in the enviable position of earning overtime pay.
The attitudes and culture of the predominantly full-time workforce, who were protected from the job losses and redundancies which plagued public sector workers in recent years, provide some insight into why inefficiencies have been so difficult to remove.
Just half admit they work more hours for no extra pay, with 6pc putting in 11 or more additional hours in the week.
Only 29pc are satisfied with their level of pay. One in five is very dissatisfied with their earnings.
There is a serious lack of trust in management, with only one in three able to say senior bosses are effective.
A majority "lack confidence" in the decisions of senior management.
While 27pc of workers said they were "very motivated" and "always enthusiastic" about their job, some 19pc had low levels of motivation and nearly one in 10 confessed to be "rarely" or "never" enthusiastic about work.
Almost nine in 10 felt that their job made a difference to patients and 86pc felt trusted to do their job.
And only 26pc say they have all the equipment, support and resources they need to carry out their job correctly.
The HSE's director of human resources, Ian Tegerdine, admitted that some of the results are disappointing.
He blamed the fact that the "health service has come through an incredibly challenging few years when there was unprecedented cuts in budgets and staff numbers."
The HSE is now to conduct focus groups around the country over the coming months.