The HSE is encouraging the public to consider all care options before attending Emergency Departments.

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation said yesterday that the health system is now “completely overwhelmed” and that overcrowding is “out of control.”

651 people were waiting for beds yesterday, including 27 children and the worst affected facility was University Hospital Limerick, with 116 people on trolleys.

The HSE has said St. Patrick’s weekend historically brings additional pressure and is warning of long waiting times in emergency departments.

It’s encouraging the public to attend hospitals only when it’s an emergency.

We’re being asked to consider all other care options before going to an ED in order to protect them for patients who need urgent and emergency care.