The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has urged the Government and HSE to publish their winter plan as it revealed that 2,305 patients were on trolleys during the first week in November.
The INMO say the figure is the highest since the Covid-19 pandemic began.
The union said that unless “urgent action” is taken, hospitals will see “record-breaking numbers” every week.
“It is now the first week of November and we have still yet to see a comprehensive winter plan from the Minister for Health and the HSE. This delay in publishing a fully funded solution to the overcrowding crisis that exists in our hospitals is unacceptable,” said General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha.
“Our staff in our hospitals are exhausted, they are dealing with rising trolley numbers coupled with rising Covid-related hospitalisations.”
On Friday, 356 patients were waiting on for beds in hospitals around the country.
Some 282 patients are waiting in the emergency department, while 74 are in wards elsewhere in the hospital.
University Hospital Galway had the most patients on trolleys with 49, followed by University Hospital Limerick (45) and Cork University Hospital (41).
Ms Ní Sheaghdha said that funding for a Safe-Staffing Framework is needed, something that would determine the safe levels of nurse-to-patient ratio.
“Just like we have a pupil-teacher ratio that advises on the optimum number of children in a classroom to one teacher,” Ms Ní Sheaghdha added.
“We are hearing examples in our hospitals of one nurse to fifteen patients in a ward. This is not a safe environment for the nurse or patients.
“The Government and HSE need to urgently outline how they plan to curb the levels of overcrowding in our hospitals to ensure the safety of healthcare workers and patients.”