The Irish Hospital Consultants Association says hundreds of essential operations have had to be cancelled this month because of capacity problems.
The organisation says over 108 thousand sick patients in need of an acute bed were left waiting on trolleys last year - a record number.
It claims an increase of 2,600 beds is needed in hospitals over the next 5 years to deal with what is calls an "unacceptable situation".
University Hospital Galway has a 1:3 rolling closure policy for theatres, and is running at two-thirds capacity.
IHCA President Dr. Donal O'Hanlon says its impacting not only on the scheduling of essential elective surgery but also on urgent cancer surgery. The result is long waiting lists for elective surgery and increased numbers presenting as emergencies because of delays.”
He says it's a problem right across the country: