The Irish Patients Association has warned that a number are at risk of dying as a result of the record figures waiting for a consultation.
250,000 people have been on the waiting list for at least a year, while nearly 76,000 people are also waiting for an inpatient or day case treatment.
Stephen McMahon from the Irish Patients Association said large numbers are at risk due to the record waits.
“When you’re getting into the situation of over 600,000 people waiting, this is an enormous burden,” he said.
“Even if a small percentage of those die as a result of the fact that they cannot get the necessary consultations in time to diagnose the problems that they actually have, those numbers could be quite large.”
Mr McMahon said numbers would only continue to increase due to capacity problems linked to the worsening Covid-19 pandemic.
“The reality is, these figures are going to continue to increase because of capacity problems, if we cannot deal with the challenges of Covid-19 and the part that the public have to play to protect themselves and others so that they don’t fall victim to it,” he said.
“On the other hand, we have to be creative in the way that these patients who are waiting too long will get the necessary access to care that they need.”