The focus will also be on eliminating the 24-hour plus waits for patients before they are admitted to a hospital bed.
The HSE’s National Service Plan for 2017 was published yesterday as 536 patients were on trolleys in acute hospitals throughout the country.
Figures compiled by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation show that Cork University Hospital was the worst affected with 60 patients on trolleys in the emergency department.
Galway University Hospital had 49 patients waiting to be admitted, with 33 on trolleys in the emergency department and 16 on wards.
Health Minister Simon Harris said the €40m allocated to the HSE for the winter initiative, earlier this year, was to fund a range of measures to help alleviate the pressures of the winter surge on hospitals.
Mr Harris said the HSE was well on its way to ensuring there would be less than 500 patients waiting to go home from hospital or be transferred to other services.
“We have already seen that figure reduced by over 100 since the publication and the funding of the Winter Initiative,” he said at the launch of the HSE’s service plan in Dublin.
Also, 4,100 patients had accessed primary care services in the community and a further 3,300 were able to get aids and appliances that enabled them to be discharged from hospital sooner.
There were 475 additional home care packages and 250 extra transitional care beds provided since October.
Mr Harris admitted that some hospitals remained under severe pressure to reduce admitted patients on trolleys.
The minister said the Department of Health’s Special Delivery Unit went to Galway University Hospital yesterday and would be in Cork University Hospital today to make sure that patient flow was “absolutely optimised” so people ready to were enabled to go home.