Emergency Department Taskforce meeting today to discuss hospital overcrowding

It comes after a week in which record numbers of patients were waiting on trolleys in the country's hospitals

Emergency Department Taskforce meeting today to discuss hospital overcrowding

Photo: Leon Farrell/RollingNews.ie

Updated 10.40am

The Emergency Department Taskforce will meet today to discuss hospital overcrowding.

The meeting comes after figures showed record numbers of patients waiting on trolleys in the country's hospitals last week.

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) says over 2,400 patients were affected over the course of the first week of the year.

Figures released by the HSE show that there were 419 patients on trolleys in the country's acute hospitals this morning - a 10% increase compared to the number this day last year.

INMO figures - which also include patients waiting on beds in hospital wards - show 555 people waiting for a bed.

Following a meeting of the INMO and the HSE on Friday, it was agreed the Emergency Department Task force would convene today.

It will look at short and long term approaches to the problem.

Speaking ahead of today's meeting, General Secretary of the INMO Phil Ni Sheaghdha argued: "I would invest heavily in recruiting more nursing staff. I would recruit heavily in more capacity - more beds are most certainly needed.

"I would not commence another reform programme until it was absolutely clear that it was going to work."

Separately, the HSE is expected to meet with the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) today to 'clarify its position' on overtime.

It follows reports that interns at Connolly Hospital in Blanchardstown in Dublin have been told they will not be paid for hours worked before 8am or after 5pm.

Responding to the reports, the HSE's HR Director Rosarii Mannion tweeted to say that no staff member will be asked to work overtime without pay.

The IMO says hospital management are "out of touch" with the realities of hospital life if they think doctors can walk off the ward when the clock strikes 5pm.