The Irish Nurses and Midwives Association has claimed a record 511 people were kept on trolleys in hospitals around the country today.

Phil Ní Shéaghdha of the INMO said the figure is the highest seen by the organisation since it first recorded patient numbers on trolleys in 2004.

Responding to the INMO’s claims, a spokeswoman for the Health Service Executive, said Emergency Departments are particularly busy at this time of the year, and there has been an increase of patients presenting with swine flu and other seasonal illnesses.

The spokeswoman said people should contact their GP or out of hours services if the first instance if they fall ill and only go to Emergency Departments in emergencies.