HEALTH Minister Leo Varadkar says there has been a marked improvement in the number of patients lying on trolleys but warned that the situation may deteriorate further next week.
Mr Varadkar said that the latest figures show that 209 patients are currently confined to trolleys compared to 525 patients last Tuesday.
“The situation is much improved but we are not out of the woods yet. Next week the junior doctors change over which is always a difficult time in the health service,” the Fine Gael politician said today.
Mr Varadkar said that there is “some evidence” that a bout of influenza is on the way which will make the situation much more difficult for hospital staff.
He told Marian Finucane on RTE radio that hospitals will need to “ramp up activity” later in the year to “get on top of cancellations” of surgery procedures in recent weeks.
Mr Varadkar said he has been in regular contact wiuth Taoiseach Enda Kenny on the crisis in emergency departments, adding that they have become “very close” in recent months.