There's a warning that overcrowded hospital emergency departments and staff shortages are putting patients at risk.

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation say HSE figures show there's a current shortage of over 200 nurses in Emergency Departments countrywide.

There are 159 unfilled vacancies, while the HSE estimates an additional 57 nurses are required within emergency departments to care for admitted patients for whom there are no beds.

The INMO says low pay and poor working conditions are making it hard to recruit and retain staff in emergency departments.

Over this past month, there were over 7,000 admitted patients on hospital trolleys - an increase of 11% on July last year, and the most overcrowded July since records began.

There were 457 patients on trolleys this month at Galway University Hospital - one of the four most overcrowded hospitals in the country.

The INMO says overcrowding is now a constant feature of our hospital system - even in Summer.