INMO's Liam Doran says his members are "are running to stand still"
The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) is warning of a shortage of nursing staff as we enter the autumn/winter period.
However the body also says there has been a 6% reduction in the number of people waiting on trolleys in August compared to last year, at 6,136 patients.
Its latest survey of trolley watch figures confirms a mixed outcome, showing:
While last month, the emergency departments and hospitals experiencing the greatest level of overcrowding were University Hospital Limerick at 610, Cork University Hospital at 473, South Tipperary General with 470, University Hospital Galway at 400 and Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital Drogheda with 391.
The INMO say the figures were released at a time when the number of delayed discharges - i.e. patients who have completed their acute care - has increased to 640 at the end of last week.
They were also published ahead of the latest meeting of the Emergency Department Taskforce, which takes place this afternoon.
The meeting will be attended by the Health Minister Simon Harris.
The INMO adds: "The latest monthly figures are also released at a time when a number of hospitals continue to report an inability, despite repeated efforts, to recruit and retain nursing staff.
"The shortage of nursing staff, which continues at crisis levels, will inevitably result in the closure of hospital beds, as we enter the autumn/winter period, which will, in turn, only exacerbate ED overcrowding and the number of patients on trolleys."
The INMO's General-Secretary, Liam Doran, says everyone can agree on one thing.
"I think everyone's right: we don't have enough beds in the acute service, we don't have enough primary care and home care supports in the community.
"The problem that we all have is when are we going to correct those agreed inadequacies?", he told Newstalk Breakfast.