Minister for Health Simon Harris has said there are more than 900 fewer patients on hospital trolleys so far this month, compared to the same period last November.
Speaking on his way into a Cabinet meeting at Leinster House, the minister said every day this month the number of people on trolleys has been lower than the corresponding day in November 2016.
"There are 911 fewer patients on hospital trolleys this month so far according to the same period to last year," said Mr Harris.
"We are entering a challenging period," he added.
He said that "about 60,000 more flu vaccines have been administered so far this year".
Mr Harris also said he should have a bed capacity review by the end of the year.
He said this will indicate how many beds are needed in hospitals and communities "not just now but for the next 30 years so we can properly plan".