Just two weeks into the New Year, the number of patients left waiting daily on trolleys in hospitals nationwide has already exceeded the 600 mark.
According to figures from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO), 606 admitted patients were waiting for beds on the morning of January 14. Some 439 were waiting in Emergency Departments (ED), while 167 were in wards elsewhere.
This is the highest number of patients on trolleys since March 2018.
The worst-hit hospitals were University Hospital Limerick (59), South Tipperary General Hospital (50), Cork University Hospital (48) and Letterkenny General Hospital (40).
The worst affected hospitals in Dublin were Beaumont Hospital and St Vincent's, both with 27 patients waiting for beds.
The worst affected children's hospital was Temple Street Children's University Hospital, which had eight children in its ED waiting for beds.
According to the INMO, these patients ‘are often being treated on trolleys in corridors, but they may also be on chairs in waiting rooms, or simply wherever there's space'.
The high trolley figures come just weeks before strikes by nurses. INMO members are set to begin strike action on January 30 (see more here), while psychiatric nurses are to strike next month (see more here).