Commenting on these overcrowding numbers, the newly appointed General Secretary of the INMO, Phil Ni Sheaghdha, demanded an explanation from the HSE in relation to how the predictable increases in Emergency Department (ED) admissions remain outside of the scope of hospitals to manage and control: "Overcrowding in late December and early January is getting worse".
The Health Minister has insisted "no effort or resource is being spared" to improve the overcrowding situation in hospitals.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has apologised to patients who have experienced long delays and waits on trolleys in emergency departments.
The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation's (INMOs) trolley count this morning indicated an increase in hospital overcrowding from yesterday's figure of 21.
I want to reassure the public that all the winter plan measures funded by increased investment by government, like increased access to home care, transitional care and diagnostics along with additional acute bed capacity, are being implemented to deal with the extra pressures our health service is experiencing.
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In his statement this evening, Minister Harris said he wanted to recognise the "intense efforts of all our staff across the health service", while acknowledging the "very hard conditions" patients are experiencing at this time.
The INMO recently released its annual figures for 2017, which revealed that nearly 99,000 patients were left waiting on trolleys past year, with the highest figure recorded in University Hospital Limerick (8,869).
In Dublin, the largest number of patients waiting for a hospital bed was at St Vincent's University Hospital, where 29 patients were on trolleys.
"We are also seeing children who need a hospital bed being held overnight in emergency departments; a new and worrying trend that is not captured in any of the official figures".
"High levels of burnout have been reported amongst nurses working in overcrowded environments", she said.
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Dr Foran said the challenge for the hospital has been to find isolation beds to treat patients with the flu.
He said the numbers are coming down and the situation should stabilise in the next few days.
The HSE has said this afternoon that flu cases are increasing and advised people showing symptoms not to go to work or school.
"The HSE has in the last fortnight also been notified of a small number of deaths directly related to influenza (less than 10)".
He welcomed the increase in the uptake of the flu vaccine among health staff, but said he wanted it even higher.
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