The Government has been given three weeks to sort out the consultant recruitment crisis - or face potential strike action.
The Irish Medical Organisation says pay inequality has led to mass medical emigration which has led to more pressurised conditions.
It says consultants are feeling increasingly frustrated at having to deliver care in a service that's on the brink of collapse.
Former IMO President Dr Matthew Sadlier said the Government has failed to put forward any proposals to resolve the issue.
"The issue with consultants recruitment and retention has come to a crisis point within the health service," he said.
"We have over one-sixth of all consultant posts currently either vacant or held by locum consultants."
He added: "We want reform, they want reform but in order to do reform we need to be entering into that with all consultants on the same terms and conditions."
IMO today met with officials from the Dept of Health, the Health Service Executive and the Dept of Public Expenditure and Reform. Regrettably at this meeting the Government failed to put forward any proposals to address the crisis in Consultant recruitment. #FightForFairness— Irish Medical Organisation (@IMO_IRL) October 17, 2019
In light of the inaction of the Government, we have been left with no choice but to set a 21-day deadline for the receipt of serious proposals to address the Consultant recruitment crisis, or we will proceed to ballot Consultant and NCHD members for industrial action— Irish Medical Organisation (@IMO_IRL) October 17, 2019