The level of overcrowding in emergency departments and elsewhere in hospitals has increased again with 530 patients waiting.

The worst affected hospital is Our Lady of Lourdes in Drogheda, which has 50 patients waiting, while there are 45 patients waiting at Beaumont and 37 at University Hospital Limerick.

The figures were compiled today by the Irish Nurses and Midwives' Organisation.

Meanwhile, the Irish Hospital Consultants' Association has said that the draft Emergency Department Task Force action plan will need clear, concrete, workable recommendations.

The organisation said the plan needs to confirm the overall objective that no patient should have to wait on a trolley after a decision to admit has been taken in an emergency department.

Dr Gerard Crotty, President of the IHCA, said that targets for the delivery of acute care should be based on medical need and not budget limits which are inadequate.

The ED Task Force plan is expected to be finalised at the next meeting of the ED Task Force in March.