Overall hospital waiting lists reduced by 3% last year, according to new figures.
The target reduction was 10%.
A significant increase in the number of patients being added to waiting lists last year is the reason given for the lower than planned reduction in overall waiting lists in 2023.
Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said there were 57,000 fewer patients on lists now, waiting longer than the agreed Sláintecare target of ten to 12 weeks.
He also said that the number of patients waiting longer than one year for care fell by 32% last year.
The average waiting time for an outpatient appointment also reduced from 9.7 months to 7.5 months last year.
The most recent figures put the number of patients waiting to be seen at an outpatient clinic at 580,000.
Figures published last month by the National Treatment Purchase Fund put the total national hospital waiting list in November at 817,180 people.