Hospital emergency departments are bracing themselves for a major surge in patient attendances from today.
The expected increase is driven by high flu levels and increased capacity after Christmas.
It comes after new figures from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation showed last year was the worst on record for overcrowding.
Over 118,000 people were on trolleys in 2019, 9% higher than in 2018.
INMO General Secretary, Phil Ni Sheaghdha says increased staffing and bed capacity is required.