CORK University Hospital (CUH) has expressed its regret after overcrowding led to patients being sent home from the emergency department.
The hospital has consistently been the most overcrowded in the country in recent months. There were 49 patients on trolleys yesterday - the highest figure in the country.
A spokesperson for the South West Hospital Group, which runs CUH, said that demand for care has been particularly high in recent days.
The situation became so bad that people were asked to leave the emergency department by staff if they were fit to do so, while those who stayed faced 10 hour waits for care.
"The hospital regrets that patients have experienced delays but are actively monitoring the situation," said the spokesperson.
Cork County Councillor Melissa Mullane was among those waiting in CUH on Monday night. She said that the "five-star staff" were doing the best that they could with the amount of patients, but were honest with them about how long they would be waiting, and recommended that some of them go home, offering them pain relief before going home. She said that they were told that the amount of patients meant that ambulances were backed up outside the hospital, and that there were no beds or trolleys for patients to take.
Ms Mullane said that, from what she could see, everyone was there for a legitimate reason.
"There were infants, senior citizens, and extremely sick people. The majority of them would have had referrals from South Doc or their GP," said she said.
She said that it was a "terrible scene" to see in 2017.
The HSE is encouraging people to contact their GP, South Doc or the urgent care and local injury units in Gurranabraher, Bantry, and Mallow before coming to CUH for emergency treatment.