MORE public patients on waiting lists had their admissions cancelled yesterday as Tallaght Hospital in Dublin strove to bring overcrowding under control by freeing up beds.
The spotlight shifted to Limerick Regional Hospital, which nurses claimed was in "utter chaos" with 36 patients on trolleys in the emergency department.
The Limerick nurses took industrial action two years ago over patient safety concerns but staff shortages had continued, they warned.
The crisis in Tallaght was temporarily relieved with a number of measures, including the cancellation of surgical appointments for 15 patients who were due to be admitted.
A shortage of staff should also be helped by the recruitment of 10 more nurses, who are to start work on Monday.
A spokesman for the hospital said that the measures taken in the operational plan "are working, and currently there are five patients on trolleys in the emergency department and none on the wards. This number is expected to fall in the coming hours."
Waiting list figures for Tallaght obtained by Labour TD Tommy Broughan showed that 321 are waiting seven months or more and 39 have faced delays of at least a year.
The hospital spokesman said those whose admissions were cancelled would be rescheduled for the coming weeks on a medical need basis and the patients involved had been notified.
Hospital chief executive David Slevin and other senior managers met with staff in the emergency department and further meetings with nursing staff will be held over the coming days.
A meeting with the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) and SIPTU also took place. Derek Reilly, industrial relations officer at the INMO, described the meeting as "constructive" and, along with the extra staff, it is planned to improve the discharge of patients at weekends.
Asked to comment on the situation in Tallaght, Health Minister James Reilly said he did not believe it was "dangerous" as claimed.
"All I know is that 37 nurses were recruited to Tallaght since last August and that more posts will be filled by Monday."
"We need to change the model of care and allow a better distribution of work. It is about a different skill mix.
"We want to see more patients treated more quickly."