The Mater University Hospital in Dublin has said it had to take "the unprecedented decision to cancel a transplant surgery" last week, due to a shortage of beds in its Intensive Care Unit.

The hospital said the decision, which was made on Friday 12 November, was "necessary to ensure the safety of the transplant patient involved".

In a statement, the Mater said "there were severe capacity constraints" in its ICU on the day, with 50% of those receiving critical care at the time "severely ill Covid positive patients".

It said "every effort was made both within the hospital and in the wider hospital system in Dublin to secure a bed".

"The decision was not taken lightly and the Mater deeply regrets the impact that this had on the transplant patient, their family and the donor's family," the hospital said.

The Mater said a serious incident management team has been set up "to learn from this situation".

When asked about a report concerning the cancellation in today's Sunday Independent, the HSE's Chief Clinical Officer, Dr Colm Henry said the case was symptomatic of the severe pressure being seen across the healthcare system.

He told RTÉ's This Week programme that given the high number of patients in ICU being treated for Covid, the healthcare system is so stretched now that they have to use every available bed to provide care for those who need it immediately.