More than 200 on trolleys for longer than nine hours yesterday - HSE
The number of patients on trolleys waiting more than nine hours for a bed was higher yesterday than on the same day in January 2015, according to the HSE's own figures.
There were 455 on trolleys in emergency departments countrywide yesterday morning. Of these, 201 were waiting for a bed for more than nine hours.
On the same day last year, 382 were on trolleys and 161 waiting more than nine hours for a bed.
The ongoing pressure on emergency departments remains relentless as it is expected to be up to a week before the new measures, agreed with nurses to reduce overcrowding, have an impact.
Health Minister Leo Varadkar visited the emergency department of Portlaoise Hospital yesterday, the future of which has been questioned.
He inspected the unit, where earlier around 18 patients were still waiting for a bed.
A report on the future of services in the hospital is being finalised and is not expected to be published before the election.
Meanwhile, trolley figures for December by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) found the level of overcrowding fell by 13pc compared to December 2014.
"However, a year-on-year analysis found that there was an increase of 21pc in overcrowding from January to December 2015 compared to the same period for 2014," it said.
December 2015 showed a decrease of 928 admitted patients awaiting a hospital bed.
From January to December 2015, almost 93,000 patients waited on a trolley for an in-patient bed compared to 77,000 in 2014. This was the highest since INMO records began.
Union chief Liam Doran said: "While we welcome the reduction of 13pc in the December 2015 figures, the 21pc overall increase in 2015 figures compared to 2014 is very disappointing.
"Also, the first days of January this year show no sign of the crisis abating.
"Today's figures show 537 sick people waiting on trolleys for a hospital bed.
"It is now absolutely vital that the HSE, at national level, and at senior level within all hospital groups immediately commits to fully operating the revised policy.
"Their priority must be to reduce overcrowding and ensure that nurses can practise safely within a manageable working environment so that we never see these figures again."
The union is now putting the new proposals to a ballot and the findings will be clear in three weeks.
Hospital managers will be hopeful that nurses will vote in favour and lift the threat of strike action.
The HSE and the INMO use different methods to calculate trolley figures.
According to the union yesterday, there were 46 patients waiting for a bed at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda.
In Beaumont there were 38 patients crammed into its emergency unit with another four on trolleys in wards.
St Vincent's Hospital in Dublin has 38 lying on trolleys.
The nurses will be particularly monitoring these hospitals in the coming weeks to see if there is an reduction in overcrowding. They're seeking proof that managers are serious about implementing measures such as discharging patients and stopping admissions of patients from waiting lists.
These are necessary to free up beds for patients on trolleys.