Nurses have warned that the conditions endured by patients in hospital Emergency Departments are in danger of getting worse next winter.

Speaking at the Oireachtas Health Committee yesterday, unions expressed fears that an extra 600 beds which are promised to cope with winter overcrowding will not be in place.

Phil Ni Sheaghdha,General Secretary of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, said there were scores of patients on trolleys again yesterday despite the good weather. She said patients and nurses "face massive overcrowding in emergency departments, with a record high of 714 patients on trolleys one day this year".

She said that Irish nursing wages simply aren't at the races when it comes to the international job market, and that delays in recruiting new nurses will cause more overcrowding in emegency departments this winter....

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