Almost 1,400 in-patient hospital beds are unavailable for admissions around the country, according to figures obtained by RTÉ News.

There are 791 beds closed and over 600 more beds occupied by patients who are ready to be discharged but who have no alternative accommodation.

The region with the largest number of closed beds is the HSE West, where 334 beds are shut.

Merlin Park Hospital in Galway has 105 beds closed, the largest number in any one hospital in the country.

The breakdown for the other regions is Dublin North East with 203 beds closed, Dublin Mid-Leinster 172, and the South 82, according to the figures supplied by the Health Service Executive.

In Dublin North East, there are 71 beds shut at Cappagh Orthopaedic Hospital, while in Dublin Mid-Leinster, St James's Hospital has closed 37 beds.

The HSE says bed closures are due to a range of factors, including cost containment, infection control, refurbishment and a move to more day case procedures.

It says that while around 300 more inpatient beds are closed, compared to this time last year, more patients are being treated, despite reduced budgets and staffing levels.

At Dublin's Tallaght Hospital the Irish Nurses and Midwives' Organisation has expressed concern that a 16-bed children's ward may be closed shortly to save money.

The hospital says the situation is under review and no decision has yet been made on further bed closures.