The Irish Patients Association has said that the overcrowding crisis in hospitals like Beaumont in Dublin is akin to a warzone.
It comes as the executive council of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation meets later to discuss planned strike action at seven hospitals next week.
Last night, the INMO said Beaumont should go off call because of the high number of people awaiting treatment on trolleys.
Director of the Irish Patients Association, Steven McMahon, said that is a decision for the HSE - but the situation is getting worse.
"Well, clearly when you see the number that were on trolleys in Beaumont Hospital yesterday, it would be akin to a warzone," he said.
"The crisis has been continuing on right through last year, into this year, and it does appear that we're not really getting the bang for the buck that we expected.
"As far as I'm aware, of the 300 beds that are due, I think 200 of them are online at the moment."