The General Secretary of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation has said that the figures for the numbers of people waiting on trolleys in hospitals this month have been extraordinarily high.

Yesterday, figures showed 668 people were on trolleys or wards waiting for admission to a bed, which was the second highest on record. The highest recorded figure came earlier this month.

There were 601 people waiting for admission to a bed at hospitals around the country this morning.

University Hospital Limerick was the worst affected, with 51 patients waiting, while 45 people were waiting for admission at Cork University Hospital.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Phil Ní Sheaghada said the real cause of the crisis is that we have hospitals that are too small, leading to a "perfect storm" of not enough beds and an increase in the numbers of people needing to attend emergency departments.

Ms Ní Sheaghada welcomed the commitment by Minister for Health Simon Harris to implement the recommendations of the Health Service Capacity Review.

The report for the Department of Health outlines that 2,600 extra acute care beds will be provided over the next 13 years, as well as key reforms and productivity measures.

Ms Ní Sheaghada said the report and previous surveys showed that because of the country's ageing population and changing demographics we are going to need a lot more beds, not just in acute hospitals, but in long-stay step-down care.