The Head of the Health Service Executive says there will always be people on trolleys at Irish hospitals, but he says they won't be there for such long periods of time.
Tony O'Brien's comments come as funding for health services is being increased slightly for the first time since 2008.
The HSE's Service Plan for 2015 shows that there will be €115m extra to spend - an increase of 1%.
Mr O'Brien says Ireland is still a long way off from meeting targets of eight hours on a trolley before admission to hospital, but there will be a much greater emphasis on ensuring those who can be discharged from the wards are discharged.
He said: "Well there will always be people on trolleys in emergency departments.
"The issue is those staying on trolleys for too long after a decision that they need admitting to a hospital bed has been made. You will be on a trolley until a decision has been made either to send you home or to admit you.
"The problem isn't in the emergency department.
"What we need to do is facilitate egress from hospitals for patients who are ready to be cared for either in their own homes, if they get properly supported, or to move to long-term care or to move to rehabilitation or whatever the appropriate destination is."