Cork University Hospital (CUH) and the Mercy Hospital are “struggling with very high attendances at the moment” according to the head of the HSE.
Liam Woods, HSE National Director of Acute Hospitals, was speaking at the launch of the HSE’S Winter Plan.
Speaking on RTÉ Mr Woods said he had been in CUH and the Mercy this week and said that they’re struggling, while the system as a whole is under pressure.
It comes as figures released to Fianna Fáil show almost 2,000 elderly people were left waiting in Emergency Departments (EDs) at Cork hospitals for more than 24 hours in 2019.
1,508 patients over 75 were waiting for more than 24 hours at CUH up to November 6 this year. There were a further 450 people affected at the Mercy - bringing the total to 1,958.
Just University Hospital Limerick and Galway University Hospital came out ahead of CUH in the figures.
Nationally, 13,466 patients over 75 were left waiting for more than 24 hours in 2019.
Figures for CUH in October alone show 176 elderly people waiting for an extended period of time, which is the same as the entire Dublin Midlands Hospital Group. Meanwhile, at the Mercy the figure was 34 for last month.
The HSE say that the number of older people presenting to EDs is growing higher. They say that the elderly are much more likely to be admitted to hospital, and will stay twice as long as other people.
Meanwhile, they say that as a consequence, when patients wait on trolleys a higher number of patients waiting are in the older persons category and particularly in the greater than 75 years category.
Fianna Fáil by-election candidate for Cork North Central, Cllr Pádraig O’Sullivan said the Cork figures are not acceptable: “Unfortunately, older people in Cork seem to be suffering the most with one in seven of all over 75s spending more than 24 hours on a trolley doing so at either CUH or the Mercy.
“These are devastating figures in themselves, but behind each and every number is a vulnerable person, more often than not in pain or distress,” he added.