A new European study has criticised the health service here for long waiting times for patients.
The European Health Consumer Index is based on access to health services, waiting times, health insurance and access to abortion.
It has ranked Ireland 21st out of 35 countries.
In a statement following the publication of the index, the HSE says it accepts it lacks capacity and that waiting times are unacceptably and unsustainably high.
Their statement said: "The twin impact of the economic recession and demographic changes in recent years has left the needs of the population and the capacity of the health system out of balance.
"Although the overall length of time people spend on waiting lists has improved in recent years, the total numbers waiting, and the numbers waiting in excess of four months for out-patient assessment and in-patient treatment, are unacceptably and unsustainably high. The HSE is working with the Minister for Health to ensure that no one is waiting more than 18 months for an out-patient appointment or inpatient treatment."
The HSE has seen its ranking fall from 14 in 2013 which, they claim, is due to the HCP using patient organisation feedback only to score Ireland on waiting times.
The HSE statement said: "The HSE has outlined its dissatisfaction that official data has been excluded by HCP. While the HSE accepts that it has challenges in relation to data, primarily due to the lack of investment during the recession, the Irish health system has been late introducing technology which has inhibited our ability to properly track an individual’s interaction with the health service.
"However, through the eHealth project we are now advancing at a new pace with a number of important developments including the Individual health Identifier (IHI) and eReferral which is currently being rolled out.
"These initiatives will allow the collection of more reliable data on a patient’s journey through the Irish health system which in turn can factually inform reports such as the EHCI."