The Health Service Executive has said it expects that outpatient services will be fully provided tomorrow, with a small number of exceptions.

However, it will be necessary to cancel some planned operations tomorrow.

It said that urgent procedures will be protected.

All hospital outpatient appointments were cancelled for today as Storm Ophelia passes over the country.

The executive said that community services will primarily focus on dealing with the most vulnerable patients in the first instance.

The HSE has said there will be a gradual return to normal health services over the next few days.

Due to cancelled appointments over the past 24 hours and a subsequent catch-up period, people can expect some delays in their appointments and discharges.

The Minister for Health said emergency departments and GP surgeries would be very busy tomorrow because of the cancellations, so he urged people to only attend if they had an urgent need.

Simon Harris said that health officials expected a gradual return to normal services over the coming days.

He said: "The message for tomorrow is if you have an appointment turn up as planned, unless you hear otherwise. In the event of a cancellation, people will be contacted.

"People can expect some delays in their appointments and discharges from hospitals over the next few days.

"The main focus of our community services tomorrow and in the coming days will be dealing with the most vulnerable patients.

"Following the significant disruption today, it is expected that both Emergency Departments and GP will be very busy tomorrow, so I would ask if you don't have an appointment and if it's not urgent please don't attend your GP or hospital."