The level of overcrowding has reduced further but remains high with 604 patients waiting for admission to a hospital bed, according to today's figures from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation.

Earlier this week the figure was at 679, the second highest recorded and the worst so far this year.

The hospital worst affected is University Hospital Limerick with 70 patients waiting for a bed.

Other hospitals with heavy overcrowding are: Cork University Hospital with 57 patients waiting and South Tipperary General with 50 patients waiting.

The HSE's TrolleyGar figures put the level of overcrowding at 448.