There are 510 patients waiting for admission to a hospital bed today, according to the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation's daily figures.

These figures cover patients in emergency departments and on wards.

The HSE has put the number of patients waiting for admission in emergency departments at 388  - an increase of 109% on its figures for the same day last year.

Today's figures come after it emerged that the number of patients on trolleys in March reduced by over 9%, compared to the same month last year.

The INMO figures show that the level of overcrowding recorded by the union last month was 9,714 - down by 980 cases when compared to the same month last year.

The hospital with the worst level of overcrowding in March was University Hospital Limerick, with 1,054 people affected.

The second worst hospital was Cork University Hospital, which had 870 patients waiting during the month.