Patients with non-critical medical conditions could wait years for treatment because of the impact Covid-19 has had on public and private hospitals.
The warning came as one Waterford woman with a severe skin condition revealed her treatment regime faces being extended because it was interrupted by the hospital changes forced during the pandemic.
Geraldine Buckley (24), an agri-sector employee from Modeligo, Co Waterford, was only able to access part of her specialised treatment for severe eczema before the programme was hit by the fallout from the pandemic.
"It's just a pity I am going to have to restrict myself as far as what I love doing or what I want to do," she told WLRFM.
"The amount of clinics I have got now, that is all I'm going to get."
Geraldine was able to have only about 20 specialised treatment sessions for her skin condition - but needed a further 20-plus sessions when the pandemic hit.
Now she fears she will have to undergo the entire treatment process again.
Her severe eczema causes her discomfort and leaves her feeling as if her skin is "too tight like an old jumper".
Geraldine adores outdoor work and is a highly regarded worker in the agri-food sector. However, if left untreated, the eczema results in her skin being so tight that, when it is placed under any tension or pressure as she engages in any strenuous physical activity, it splits and bleeds.
"I am only allowed a break of seven sessions before I have to go back to square one again so even if I did get my clinic again next week, I would have to go back to the start again.
"I'm already halfway through but that won't matter now, I'm going to have to go back to the start whenever I do get to see a specialist, which could be four years' time," she said.
Her plight was highlighted by Labour councillor John Pratt who said that while everyone understands the demands placed on the healthcare system by the pandemic, having to re-run entire medical treatment regimes makes absolutely no sense.
"It is a waste of taxpayers' money indirectly because she is already in the system, she is after having had half her treatments," he said.
"She is now back on the waiting list for four years - unfortunately it is usually more than that."
Cllr Pratt said his fear was that thousands of other people could now face the same plight as Geraldine was facing.