Health Minister Dr James Reilly has admitted that HSE figures do not reflect the reality of the number of people on hospital trolleys.
Dr Reilly - who addressed the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) conference in Kilkenny today - said the INMO's counting method will be used by the HSE in future.
The Minister wants to reach a point where patients are either admitted to a ward or discharged within a six-hour period, as part of plans to address the crisis in A and E units.
However Dr Reilly says in the meantime a universal process of measuring the number of people on trolleys will be introduced:
"We drilled down and examined the figures and in fairness the INMO figures are closer to the reality than the HSE figures. I'm quite prepared to admit that," he said.