The Irish Association for Emergency Medicine has said that the shortage of junior hospital doctors will be worse than ever from next month, despite a record number of doctors qualifying in Ireland.

It says many Emergency Departments are struggling to maintain full 24-hour cover and that longer waiting lists for patients appear inevitable.

The association, which represents consultants in emergency medicine, said it feared that longer waiting times for patients could lead to delayed treatment and potential avoidable harm.

It has called on the Health Service Executive to put contingency plans in place.