The Tánaiste and Minister for Health, Mary Harney, has said the situation at A&E wards in hospitals around the country was not acceptable and was not going to continue.

Ms Harney repeated that she planned to introduce a number of measures to relieve the situation.

The minister said she intended coming forward in the context of the estimates with a package of proposals to further reform of the health service.

She also expressed her concern for those who were suffering.

Earlier, the Irish Nurses Organisation said more than 200 patients were on trolleys, awaiting beds, in hospitals around the country.