Nurses in appeal to North for help with crowding
The number of patients waiting on trolleys dropped slightly to 578 yesterday, but some hospitals were worse off than on Tuesday.
There were calls for the health service in the North to intervene to help ease the overcrowding.
The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) said that the University Hospital Limerick was worst-affected yesterday, with a total of 60 patients on trolleys.
Cork University Hospital had seven more patients on trolleys compared to Tuesday, resulting in a total number of 40.
And in the wider Dublin area, Tallaght hospital was worst-hit yesterday with 45 patients on the trolley count.
Yesterday morning there were 46 patients waiting for beds in the wards in Letterkenny University Hospital.
Maura Hickey, industrial relations officer with the INMO said: "This is such a crisis the INMO is also calling on HSE management to immediately engage with neighbouring health services, including in Northern Ireland, to see what additional capacity it can supply in the interests of patient care."
The HSE issued a statement saying the Christmas/New Year period has been exceptionally busy with many frail elderly patients presenting and requiring admission to hospital.
But queues of up to 16 ambulances have been seen at hospitals as ambulance staff are put under pressure to find space for patients.
One Dublin consultant insisted the current trolley crisis was due to a lack of beds, funding and medical staff - not the flu epidemic.
Dr Peadar Gilligan, consultant in emergency medicine at Beaumount Hospital and chairman of the Irish Medical Organisation, believes overcrowding in hospitals will continue if the health system is not reformed. "Politicians often complicate what is a very simple explanation for our overcrowding crisis," said Dr Gilligan, citing reduced numbers of beds even as the population was ageing.