The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation has decided to defer making any decision on a timeframe for industrial action over staffing to allow further time for talks with management.

Its executive council met today to discuss the issue and decided to hold a special meeting on Monday 30 January to review progress.

In a recent ballot, 90% of INMO members supported industrial action, if necessary, to deal with what the union has described as a staffing crisis.

Meanwhile, there are 527 patients on trolleys or on wards today waiting for admission to a bed.

The figures from the INMO show that 372 patients are on trolleys and a further 155 are on wards, waiting for admission to a bed.

The hospital worst affected is Letterkenny General with 38 patients waiting, Our Lady of Lourdes in Drogheda with 35 and Midland Regional Mullingar with 34.

The HSE's 'TrolleyGar' figures put the number of patients just on trolleys higher at 403 but says this is over 10% down on the same day last year.