The head of the Health Service Executive, Professor Brendan Drumm, has told RTÉ that the HSE deserves the criticism that it gets.
He said that the vast amount of work that the executive performs is done well, but the HSE has been very bad at getting that message out.
Speaking before a meeting of the National Health Forum at Government Buildings, Prof Drumm said that morale does fall with negative publicity but that he hoped there would be a commitment by all sides at the forum to work together to deliver what he believed could be a superb public health service.
The forum, which was set up by the Health Minister, includes trade unions, members of the ICTU and various government departments.
Kevin Callinan, the Impact National Secretary for Health, who also attended today's forum, said that morale in the health service was at rock-bottom.