The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has called for urgent action to address overcrowding at University Hospital Galway.

It said that the number of people on trolleys there was at its highest level since 2019.

INMO Industrial Relations Officer, Anne Burke, said such a level of overcrowding at this time of year is not normal and should not be treated as such.

She has called on hospital management and the HSE to take immediate action.

Ms Burke said her members were under severe pressure, with staff being redeployed at a significant rate.

The INMO has called for all non-urgent elective procedures to be cancelled until the situation improves.

In a statement today, the hospital said it had implemented its full capacity protocol.

As well as high numbers attending the Emergency Department this week, there was additional pressure on bed capacity as a result of Covid-19.

There were 54 people being treated with the virus in the hospital today. Three wards have been given over to these patients, and a further two have been impacted by outbreaks. Management have said that this was having a knock-on effect on bed capacity.

The hospital said every available bed was being used and that efforts were continuing to discharge patients who were ready to go home.

It has apologised to patients and their families for the distress and inconvenience being caused to them.