An Independent TD has called for the Government to treat the issue of overcrowding in hospitals as an emergency situation, as Emergency Departments (ED) around the country continue to break records for the number of patients waiting on trolleys.
Figures from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) released on Saturday showed more than 8,717 patients have been without a bed during the month of April.
Last month also brought the worst day for overcrowding in any Irish hospital since tracking began, with 126 patients recorded without a bed in University Hospital Limerick (UHL) on April 21st.
INMO general secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said such high levels of overcrowding were particularly worrying at this stage of the year as presentations tend to increase each winter.
Independent TD Seán Canney said the Government must step up to resolve the problem, treating it as a matter of urgency.
"The amount of people and family members who have contacted me about their loved ones who have gone into the hospital, or have gone into A&E, who can't get a bed and who are left on a trolley for maybe three or four days.
"These same people will tell me that the nurses and the staff within the A&E are working under so much pressure. It's unbelievable what's happening right now," Mr Canney told Newstalk.
The INMO is also calling for the Government to take action after Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly ordered the HSE to deploy an “expert team” to UHL earlier this week as part of an emergency plan to ease the crisis.
However, Ms Ní Sheaghdha warned: "The problem of record-breaking overcrowding has not just been confined to University Hospital Limerick", adding there is a "real problem with overcrowding all along the western seaboard".