Almost 9,000 operations were cancelled in Irish hospitals in the first half of this year, according to figures obtained by Fine Gael.
The level of cancellations represents a 27% increase on the same period last year.
Fine Gael health spokesman Dr James Reilly says the problem can be traced back to ongoing A&E overcrowding and delayed discharges from hospital beds.
Dr Reilly says the health system is currently being mismanaged and urgently needs to be overhauled.
"It is depressing that figures I sought from the HSE confirm that the gridlock in our hospitals continues to see patients’ procedures cancelled," said Dr Reilly.
"At 8,935 the number of cancelled operations in the first half of the year is well up on the same period in 2008. The 7,037 cancelled operations by June 2008 more than doubled to 16,316 by year end which suggests 20,000 operations may be cancelled by the end of this year.
"I have also analysed INO trolley figures which show the average daily number of patients on trolleys was 267 this year so far, compared to 230 for the same period last year.
It is clear that ongoing A&E overcrowding and delayed discharges from acute beds lead to cancelled operations. Scandalously, 40,000 operations have been cancelled since 2007.
"This broken system is vastly inefficient and costly to the taxpayer and it is a vicious circle for the patients who are left to wait on all sides - on trolleys in A&E; in acute beds after their acute phase of care has ended; and, worst of all, in pain as their operations are cancelled."