A high number of people are attending emergency departments, with more than 380 patients waiting for beds in hospitals around the country.
A total of 387 admitted patients were waiting for beds on Friday morning, according to figures from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, with 308 of those patients waiting in emergency departments, while 79 are waiting on trolleys in wards.
HSE chief operations officer Anne O’Connor said the situation was comparable to the first week in January, when hospital overcrowding is traditionally at its worst.
University Hospital Limerick had the highest number of patients awaiting a bed on Friday morning, with a total of 47 people waiting in the emergency department and 18 elsewhere in the hospital.
University Hospital Galway has 39 people waiting for a bed, with 37 in the emergency department while Cork University Hospital has a total of 34 on trolleys, all of which are in the emergency department.
On Thursday, there were 438 patients waiting for a bed in hospitals across the country with Tuesday seeing the highest number of people on trolleys since the start of the pandemic.
Ms O’Connor said the health service was going to do things in a different way to keep people out of hospital.
“It’s only October, but it’s like the first week in January,” she told Newstalk Breakfast of the figures attending emergency departments.
Hospitals are very busy, there are significant numbers attending emergency departments, far in excess of what we saw in 2020 and 2019.”
The numbers in major hospitals in Galway, Limerick and Cork were 25% higher than 2019.
Ms O’Connor said on Thursday night there were 100 hospital beds available, out of 12,00 in the system. More frail and vulner