The level of hospital overcrowding is rising again with 549 patients waiting in emergency departments, or on wards, for admission to a bed.

The hospital worst affected is Cork University Hospital with 52 patients waiting.

Other hospitals badly affected are University Hospital Limerick with 41 patients waiting and St Luke's Hospital in Kilkenny with 40 patients waiting.

The figures are complied by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation.

The highest level of overcrowding recorded was in January this year when 612 patients were waiting.