Patients Together has expressed concern over the length of time pregnant women have to wait to have their first appointment with a doctor at Dublin's maternity hospitals.

In one instance, a woman who was three months pregnant was told she would have to wait until she was seven and a half months into her pregnancy to get a public appointment with an obstetrician.

Hospitals are encouraging women to make an appointment as soon as they know they are pregnant because there is a peak in demand at the moment.

Patients Together’s Janette Byrne said the long waits are not acceptable and are a further indictment of how chronic the health service is.

Ms Byrne said the issue is causing considerable distress for patients.