Overcrowding figures from two key sources today show different numbers of trolleys in hospital emergency departments.

The Health Service Executive TrolleyGAR report says there are 380 patients on trolleys, while the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation trolley watch report puts the figure lower at 345.

The HSE figure excludes the number of patients moved to wards from emergency departments and who are waiting for admission to a bed.

The INMO says there are 121 such patients, bringing the national overcrowding total today to 466.

The TrolleyGAR figures change during the day as patients are admitted.

Under the HSE figures, trolley numbers are up by around ten patients, compared with this time last year.

According to the INMO, the hospitals worst affected today are University Hospital Limerick and South Tipperary General, both with 33 patients waiting.

It says there are 30 patients waiting on trolleys, or on wards for admission to a bed, at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital.

Overcrowding reached a record high of 612 patients last week, causing discomfort and difficulties for patients, relatives and staff.

Meanwhile, Tallaght Hospital has said that non-urgent operations remain postponed given pressures on its emergency department, with the situation being reviewed every 24 hours.

Currently there are 19 patients on trolleys in emergency departments with a further four on the wards, according to the hospital.

Tallaght activated its full capacity protocol on Saturday.

It said it had been under sustained pressure over the past number of days, due to a 10% increase in overall adult emergency department attendances, with a 22% increase in patients over 75 years of age presenting, compared to the same period last year.

Separately, overall hospital waiting lists reduced by around 2,300 to 535,974 according to the December figures from the National Treatment Purchase Fund.

Inpatient and outpatient waiting lists have reduced slightly, while the number waiting for a gastrointestinal check has risen a little.

There were 437,558 patients waiting to be seen by a consultant at an outpatient clinic for the first time last month, compared with 440,629 in November.

The number of people waiting for an inpatient, or day case treatment was 81,015 last month, compared with 81,103 for November.

In December 2015, the total number of people on waiting lists was 459,487 compared with 535,974 last December, an increase of 76,493.

Flu outbreak should hit peak in 'next two weeks'

Earlier this morning, the Assistant National Director of Public Health and Children's Health with the Health Service Executive has said the current flu outbreak should hit its peak in the next two weeks, and then decline.

Dr Kevin Kelleher said it was important that people who are sick with the flu understood they could look after themselves and that they did not need to seek help in emergency departments.

He said that a lot of information could be found on the website undertheweather.ie.

Dr Kelleher said that if patients found they were not improving at home, then they should seek medical advice.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, he said that the return to school and work for many people and a cold spell of weather forecast for later this week would impact on the flu outbreak.

"If it gets very cold we move inside a lot and that means we stay inside. So, you're more in company with other people as a consequence and more likely to pass on these things.

"Actually being outside, really outside, lessens the opportunity to pass on these things. Being in a room, in an enclosed space, increases the chance of passing on these problems."

He added he did not agree there was any need to close schools until the outbreak has subsided.