Taoiseach admits to ‘chronic’ hospital overcrowding as 700 wait on trolleys

He says he rejects being in denial about the challenges facing the health service

Leo Varadkar: “There are certainly too many patients waiting too long to see a specialist or to get the procedure that they need”. Picture: Getty

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has admitted there is a “chronic problem” of overcrowding in accident and emergency departments.

It came after there were 704 patients on trolleys in Irish hospitals yesterday, following the May Bank Holiday, and 712 on trolleys today.

There is a regular surge in trolley numbers after holiday periods because key decision makers –such as consultants to discharge people from hospital beds - have been on leave.

At Leaders’ Questions in the Dáil, ...