585 patients on trolleys or waiting for beds in Irish hospitals today

The highest numbers were recorded at University Hospital Limerick and Cork University Hospital

585 patients on trolleys or waiting for beds in Irish hospitals today

Picture by: Lynne Cameron/PA Wire/PA Images

There are 585 patients on trolleys or waiting for a bed in hospitals today, 129 fewer than the record high of 714 reached on Monday.

The latest figures from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) show the highest numbers were recorded at University Hospital Limerick and Cork University Hospital.

Both those hospitals had 49 patients on trolleys or waiting for a bed in wards this morning.

The surge in figures in recent days has prompted the Health Minister Simon Harris to forego his St Patrick's Day trip to Netherlands and Belgium, saying it would not be right to travel during a "difficult week".

The Taoiseach says the Government is working on improving the healthcare system.

However, Leo Varadkar says he won't be cutting his US trip short to come home as a result of the hospital crisis.

Speaking in Washington DC yesterday, he explained: "Part of my job is foreign policy - it is visits to the United States such as this; it is attending the European Council meeting, which I will next week.

"As always is the case, there are so many things you want to do, so many things you ought to do... and you have to portion out your time. I was in the country last week, I'll certainly be in the country next week."