The Irish Nurses & Midwives' Organisation has said the emergency department at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda is severely overcrowded, with 40 patients on trolleys waiting to be admitted to a bed. 

It said that one elderly patient has been on a trolley for the past five days in the department awaiting a bed and several patients are on their fourth day waiting.

INMO industrial relations officer Tony Fitzpatrick said the level of overcrowding within the department is dangerous and is putting the health, safety and well-being of patients and staff at risk.

He said that the department is short five nurses and the union is to seek a further meeting of the Labour Relations Commission to discuss the problems.

The Health Service Executive said a new building at the hospital will open tomorrow, with eight clinical decision beds, which will immediately remove patients from the emergency department.

It said recruitment of new nurses is ongoing, with 31 scheduled for interview in the coming weeks. 

The executive said research by the HSE's population health division has shown the hospital will require further acute inpatient beds.

It said the minor injuries unit at Louth County Hospital in Dundalk is open from 9am to 8pm daily and is a suitable service for those who have a minor injury. 

Most patients are seen, assessed and treated in under an hour.