Consultants link 500 unfilled posts to spiralling waiting lists
More than 500 permanent consultant posts are either empty or filled temporarily - while hospital waiting lists have grown to record levels, with almost 565,000 waiting to see a specialist last month.
Health Minister Simon Harris has committed to starting talks with consultant representative bodies next month. However, campaigners say this pledge is similar to ones made in October, March and April which have not yet resulted in any substantive discussions.
Dr Laura Durcan, vice-president of the Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA), said patients have "learned to think that it's OK to sit for years on a waiting list".
"The consultants of Ireland have come to a point where they have to stand up and say it's not OK for patients to wait for years.
"None of this is OK, you should be able to access timely care," she said.
The Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) is also ramping up pressure on the minister with the release of a new video today which links the shortage of consultants with waiting lists in specific areas.
According to the IMO, there is a total shortfall of 595 consultants across 10 specialities.
Mr Harris has acknowledged that consultants recruited after 2012 are paid less than their older counterparts. Recently he described this situation as "unfair".