The Health Service Executive has admitted that 191 junior hospital doctor posts around the country are vacant.
The admission was made by HSE chief executive Cathal Magee at an Oireachtas committee hearing and number is higher than the 150 estimate given earlier by the health body.
He added that 300 doctors from Pakistan and India have applied for visas and 128 have already arrived in Ireland.
They will have to pass tests before being allowed to work.
In his first appearance before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children, Mr Magee said the HSE can’t meet current demands on the service.
Budget shortfalls for demand-led services are €58m off while there is a €50m gap for short for primary care.
Earlier, the Minister for Health James Reilly told the Committee that due to the difficult financial situation, further cuts in health spending will be needed over the next three years.
He said that some work, like day surgeries and certain treatments for medical patients, would be transferred from larger hospitals to smaller hospitals, to ensure that large regional hospitals have the capacity to cope with more complex cases referred to them