The Irish Hospital Consultants' Association has said there are currently 28,417 women waiting to see a gynaecologist and almost 5,400 of those are waiting more than a year for an appointment.

It said the number of women waiting to see a gynaecologist has increased by 40% over the last five years. 

The hospitals with the longest wait times to see a gynaecologist are in Dublin, with 3,469 women waiting for the Rotunda Hospital, 3,148 at Tallaght Hospital and 2,099 for the Coombe Hospital.

Regionally, there are also significant numbers of women waiting for a gynaecological appointment.

Galway University Hospital has 1,898 women waiting, with 1,783 in Letterkenny General Hospital, 1,522 in Portlaoise Hospital and 1,468 in Limerick University Hospital.

In addition, almost one in five (5,394) women are waiting longer than 12 months to secure an appointment.

The association said the consultant recruitment and retention crisis is a major factor in the growth in the number of women now waiting for appointments. 

It said that 500 consultant posts remain vacant or are only temporarily filled and this is affecting the delivery of healthcare to women. 

In a statement, the IHCA said the Government's "continued support for a failed policy, which is perpetuating the unique and extremely damaging salary cut imposed only on consultants appointed since 2012, is driving our much needed specialists abroad, where they are highly sought after and valued".

It said it is time for the Government to restore pay parity for new consultants before it irreparably damages public hospital services and causes even longer delays in treating patients.