Over 1,000 people predicted to be on trolleys in Irish hospitals this winter
Doctors are calling for a new plan to tackle overcrowding in Irish hospitals as the winter months approach.
The Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) is forecasting a "chaotic" winter season at the coalface of our health service.
Issues like a shortage of emergency department resources and a lack of staff will compound to create "the perfect storm" in hospitals, it has warned.
It predicts that at least 1,000 people will be forced to wait on trolleys around the country during the colder months.
The IMO wants the government to invest in beds and to undertake a sustained campaign of recruiting to fill current vacancies.
"Patients being cared for in dangerously overcrowded Emergency Departments is a function of an acute hospital system working beyond its available capacity," the organisation said in a statement.
"The capacity constraints include nearly 500 unfilled consultant posts and 2,650 less beds than we currently require in Irish hospitals and a need for over 1000 additional General Practitioners."
The Department of Health has said that it is working closely with the HSE to get ready for the winter months.
There are currently 403 people waiting for beds in Irish hospitals, figures from the Irish Nurses and Midwives' Organisation today show.
University Hospital Limerick is the most overcrowded with 55 waiting.
Trolley numbers hit a record high of 714 people on trolleys in March of this year after poor weather put the health service under extra pressure.