The number of patients on trolleys has halved within three days, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has said.
On Tuesday, a record 931 individuals were waiting for medical care on trolleys - the highest figure since the State began keeping records.
Speaking to The Hard Shoulder, Minister Donnelly said the situation had ameliorated since then.
“The situation is better today,” he said.
“I’m delighted to see that we’ve had a 50% reduction in the number of patients in trolleys over the last three days and the figures I have just in the last few hours show that they’ve come down further again today.
“We’ll see where we’re at 8am tomorrow but we had very high figures Monday and Tuesday.
“I’d like to acknowledge the stress for patients, for their families and for our own healthcare workers.”
One 78-year-old woman who spent three days on a chair at Beaumont Hospital described the situation as a "disgrace".
“My message to the Government is that they have to start looking after the old people who are sick and vulnerable," Gerladine Bollard told Newstalk reporter Henry McKean.
“There’s nothing in there for old people. I sat in there all night without a cup of tea. I think it is a disgrace. The nurses are under complete stress."
Mr Donnelly added that the situation varied across the country, insisting that some hospitals were doing “very well”, while others were still under “sustained pressure”.
Yesterday, HSE CEO Stephen Mulvaney said that staff would be asked to work additional hours to clear the backlog and Mr Donnelly confirmed that things were still “all hands on deck”.
In the longer-term, he said the Government is in the process of hiring more staff and building more hospitals.
“We’re in the middle of the single biggest expansion of our public service and reform of our public service there has ever been,” he said.
“So, over the last three years we have record beds, record diagnostics, record workforce.
“We’ve authorised the building of several new hospitals and we’re building up critically, an entire new community healthcare service because many, probably most, of the solutions to the ED pressures are not found in the emergency departments.
“They’re found outside the emergency departments; whereby, patients have options so that they don’t go to the emergency department, don’t need to go or if they’ve been admitted to hospital they are discharged back home as quickly as possible.”
Main image: The Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly. Picture by: Sasko Lazarov/RollingNews