Cork University Hospital has blamed a "large number of very ill patients requiring admission" for delays which saw 68 admitted patients on trolleys in its emergency department and elsewhere in the hospital today.
In hospitals across the country on the same day there were 541 admitted patients waiting for a bed.
Patient advocate, Stephen McMahon, described the national total of patients waiting as “absolutely shocking.”.
CUH management said it was “regrettable” that some patients in the ED might experience a delay.
“The increase in attendance is due to a large number of very ill patients requiring admission,” management stated. “Patient care is paramount in CUH and this situation is being treated as a priority by hospital management who have taken steps to address the issue.”
It urged people to contact their GP first if they had a health concern and explore other options available before attending the ED.
The INMO's industrial relations officer, Mary Power said the HSE had to consider ceasing elective admissions at CUH if more patients were being admitted through the ED.
According to the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation's Trolley Watch, there were 47 admitted patients in CUH's ED and 21 elsewhere in the hospital.
There were 1,079 admitted patients waiting on trolleys in CUH last month, the highest since records began in 2006.
Ms Power said overcrowding at the hospital was intolerable and unsafe.
The organisation warned last week that services would have to be curtailed if the health crisis continued to “spiral out of control.”
The INMO is still waiting for the South-South-West Hospital Group to respond to its request for an urgent response to the situation. It has also requested an urgent meeting on bed capacity.
“It is the responsibility of the HSE and South-South-West Hospital Group to sort this out,” said Ms Power.
Mr McMahon, who is chairman and co-founder of the Irish Patients Association, is to write to the joint chairs of the Emergency Department Taskforce about continuing hospital overcrowding.
“I want to get clarification as to why there is such overcrowding over the summer months. It should be a quiet period,” he said.
Mr McMahon is a member of the task force which has not met since last January
According to the INMO, 70 admitted patients were waiting at University Hospital Limerick and 45 at South Tipperary General Hospital.