'It's absolutely unacceptable' - Varadkar apologises to patients languishing on hospital trollies
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has apologised to patients affected by the hospital trolley crisis.
Mr Varadkar said it's "absolutely unacceptable" for anyone to be waiting on a trolley for a hospital bed.
And he expressed the government's frustration that the problem hasn't been solved despite increased investment in health.
Mr Varadkar said: "I want to extend my regret and also my apologies to any patient who’s experienced a long delay or a trolley wait in our emergency departments in the last couple of days".
He thanked hospital staff who he said have been "working very hard to alleviate the situation over the past week or so".
Mr Varadkar said the numbers are coming down and the situation is expected to stabilise in the coming days and into next week.
"It is of course enormously frustrating.
"This is the third year in a row in which we’ve had more resources, a bigger budget, more staff, more beds, more homecare, and despite of all of that we haven’t seen improvement."
He suggested further resources may be needed but added: "if that’s not making a difference then we have to understand why that is the case".
Mr Varadkar said that some hospitals have very few patients on trollies - pointed to Cavan which had none - but others have more.
He said there needs to be an understanding of "how we can apply best practice across the board."