Former Director General of the Health Service Executive Tony O'Brien has said the reported findings from a document detailing the current challenges within Ireland's health system is a "realistic assessment". 

Today's Irish Independent reports on a Department of Health briefing for Minister of Health Stephen Donnelly that outlines a massive backlog for basic treatments and diminished cancer services. 

That document warns that waiting lists will soar by 130% and says a further €1bn in funding could be needed to fight the coronavirus, according to a report in today's Irish Independent.

Speaking on RTÉ's Today with Sarah McInerney, Mr O'Brien said if things are not done to improve the health system, that is what it will look like. 

"I have no doubt that at both the HSE and Department of Health level they are exploring every opportunity to do things differently, to make things better. There is a lot more use of virtual consultation and e-health technology to reduce the impact on waiting lists".

However, he said the impact of Covid-19 means that the capacity of the health system is reduced from what it was last year and at that time "we know that the capacity was not equal to the needs of the population".

He also said what has been demonstrated this year is the direct correlation between the quality of our health service and the capability of our economy to function.

He said our health system has never had the right capacity to meet the level of demand.

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Meanwhile, the Government is being urged to publish a plan for the resumption of health services as soon as possible, or face a "tsunami" of missed treatment and diagnosis.

Sinn Féin's spokesperson on health David Cullinane has said patients need to be given some hope that they will receive treatment, while frontline staff need reassurance that they will not be left to deal with a huge crisis in the winter months.

Sinn Féin says a multi-billion euro package is needed and the party will publish its own proposals next week.

Mr Culliane is calling on the Minister for Health to publish the full version of the briefing document prepared for him by officials in the department.

"Rather than a ministerial brief we need a plan", said Mr Cullinane. "So what is the plan? Where is the additional capacity going to come from? Where are the additional staff going to come from?

"How are they going to support frontline workers? We have been told nurses and doctors are suffering from post traumatic stress.

"They have been through a very, very difficult period, holding the frontline in our health services, and they cannot be left to deal with an absolute crisis in September, October, November and in the new year." 

He said: "If we don't provide the funding and we don't put the capacity in, then we are going to have a tsunami come at us in terms of missed healthcare. So the minister needs to be coming out with a plan.

"You have a plan to reopen the economy, you have a plan to reopen schools, where is the plan for the healthcare system, where is the plan for our acute hospitals?" 

Additional reporting Mary Regan