The Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) says it is a "national disgrace" that 7,000 operations were cancelled this year because of hospital overcrowding.
Figures released to the Irish Daily Mail show 25 procedures had to be put on hold every day between January and September this year.
The HSE says "capacity issues" including a lack of bed space was the reason for so many cancellations.
President of the IMO, Dr Peadar Gilligan, says it highlights the lack of capacity in the health service.
"We lack the available hospital beds, both for emergency admissions to hospital and for planned or elective admissions to hospital
"I'm reassured to some extent that the minister has highlighted the issue around capacity.
"What I'm concerned about is that the rate of progress is not what it needs to be."