The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has said that the number of people awaiting treatment on trollies at hospitals around the country fell in the first four months of the year.
The findings come as around 360 delegates gather for the INMO's annual conference in Killarney.
The organisation said it carried out a comparative analysis of its trolley watch statistics for the months of January to April from 2007 to 2012.
The trolley watch counts, on a daily basis, the number of patients, who have been admitted, but who are left on a trolley awaiting an in-patient bed.
The figures showed an an overall reduction of 17% in the first four months of 2012 compared with the same period in 2011.
The greater Dublin area showed a reduction of 23%, with the rest of the country down 13%.
However the 2012 figures still confirmed an overall increase compared with figures for 2007, 2008 and 2009.
The INMO said there was no doubt that Health Minister James Reilly had prioritised the need for hospitals to manage their Emergency Department admissions on a 24/7 basis, with particular emphasis on reducing the number of patients on trolleys every day.
"Our latest figures show a most welcome reduction," the organisation said in a statement.
"However, the fact remains that 26,106 patients were left on trolleys, following admission while awaiting an in-patient bed, in the first four months of this year. "
INMO General Secretary Liam Doran said much more work needs to be done to improve this situation.
The organisation is calling for closed beds to be opened and the recruitment moratorium to be lifted for frontline HSE staff.
“The Minister has correctly prioritised dealing with this national crisis since his election to office," Mr Doran said.
"In order to achieve this he must acknowledge the need for additional bed capacity in a number of hospitals and obtain Government approval for the allocation of special funding accordingly.”