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The head of the HSE has written to staff to ask them to ‘volunteer’ to work over the June bank holiday weekend.

CEO Bernard Gloster asked staff to take on extra shifts to avoid a “dreadful position” in hospitals following previous long weekends.

He said further overcrowding would have “implications for the rest of the healthcare system”.

Retired consultant in emergency medicine, Dr. Fergal Hickey, believes bed capacity would need to be addressed in any case:

“Having any number of additional decision makers will not solve the bed capacity problem.”

“It’ll make care for individuals potentially better, but if they’ve no bed to go to once the decision is made that they require hospital admission, then the gridlock will continue and he’s chosen since he took over the role of CEO to studiously ignore that fact.”