Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said the Government acknowledges the difficulties in recruiting staff in the health service including consultants.

However, he said there were more people working in the health service than ever before.

He was responding to the Co-Leader of the Social Democrats Roisín Shortall, who called for report on the consultant recruitment crisis to be published.

She said there were 450 vacant consultant posts and she said even if these were all filled Ireland would still have the lowest number of vacant posts per-capita in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

She said a huge number of medical doctors were graduating here and leaving Ireland.

Ms Shortall said there are many reasons why Ireland could not hold on to its hospital doctors including its unmanageable workloads and burnout for doctors.

In response, Mr Varadkar said Minister for Health Simon Harris would publish the report on recruitment of consultants "in proper order".

The Taoiseach said there were only 20 vacancies for consultants being advertised on publicjobs.ie.

He said it there were a lot of doctors working in peripheral hospitals that are not on training schemes because he said  the medical colleges do not recognise those hospitals as training or teaching hospitals.

Ms Shortall said there was a recent HSE report which pointed to serious problems in relation to the importation of doctors.

She said many doctors were coming from developing countries and there issues about the qualifications of those doctors.

She said these doctors were propping up the Irish health system.

Ms Shorthall called on the Taoiseach to publish the report and for the Government to take action on the crisis in the recruitment of hospital doctors.