The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has called on the Government to provide funding in Budget 2023 to heighten patient safety, describing conditions as "impossible and often dangerous".
Marking World Patient Safety Day, the INMO said the winter plan should be published immediately in order to protect patients and healthcare workers.
The INMO added that over 2,698 patients (including 64 children) have been without a bed at hospitals around the country since Monday.
"This World Patient Safety Day we must take stock of the impact that chronic hospital overcrowding is having on those who are in our hospitals without a bed and our members who are often their first port of call when it comes to their treatment," the INMO's general secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said.
She added nurses and midwives are facing "yet another winter where they are left in impossible and often dangerous care environments", urging Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly and the HSE to publish the 2022/2023 Winter Plan in tandem with the budget, which will be announced on Tuesday, September 27th.
"Budget 2023 must have a laser focus on the recruitment and retention of nurses and midwives.
"There must be an investment in maternity services to give women greater choice about childbirth also to address the fact that maternity wards are closing due to a chronic shortage of midwives.
"There must be a change in mindset of how we configure maternity services that allows for more midwife led units," Ms Ní Sheaghdha said.
She added that community-based care "can only lead to better outcomes", stressing that hospital overcrowding "has significant negative health outcomes for patients".
"As a nation, we cannot continue to trundle from winter trolley chaos to winter trolley chaos while glossing over the very real impact this has on patients and their long-term health needs.
"As we head into a winter of known unknowns, action must be taken now to ensure that patients and nurses are not in unsafe environments. We should not be having the same conversation on Patient Safety Day 2023."