500 admitted patients are waiting for beds this morning, according to Thursday's Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) Trolley Watch figures, with University Hospital Waterford (UHW) among the worst-hit.
28 patients are waiting in the emergency department at UHW, while seven patients are on wards elsewhere in the hospital.
Other worst-hit hospitals on Thursday include University Hospital Limerick (41), Cork University Hospital (38) and Letterkenny University Hospital (35).
Overall, 363 patients are waiting in emergency departments nationwide, with 137 on wards.
Ireland’s nurses and midwives will go on strike for 24 hours on January 30, it was announced on Tuesday.
The union is legally required to give one week’s notice, but has given three to allow for safety planning. Should the dispute go unresolved, there will be further 24-hour strikes on February 5, 7, 12, 13 and 14.
The strike will see INMO members withdraw their labour for 24 hours, providing only life-saving care and emergency response teams.
The dispute centres on safe staffing in the public health service. The HSE has not been able to recruit and retain enough nurses and midwives on current wages.
The number of staff nurses fell by 1,754 (6%) between 2008 and 2018, despite an ageing, growing population making the health service busier.
This would be only the second national strike in the INMO’s hundred-year history.