Statements issued on behalf of Portiuncula Hospital in Ballinasloe and Regional Hospital Mullingar warned of severe overcrowding in both facilities today (Thursday) and urged the public not to attend the Emergency Department if at all possible.
The statements came as Trolley Watch figures from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) showed there were 28 patients on trolleys in Portiuncula today and 29 on trolleys in Mullingar.
A press statement on behalf of Portiuncula said it was "extremely busy" with "high numbers of patients awaiting admission."
It said the current situation meant that patients were experiencing "significant delays" as they awaited a hospital bed.
"Management at the hospital would like to advise people who are attending the Emergency Department at Portiuncula University Hospital that they can expect long delays," said the statement.
"We would like to remind the public that we encourage them to attend the Emergency Department only in the case of real emergencies and they should contact their GP or GP Out-of-Hours service in the first instance."
It asked patients in Athlone and other areas to consider going to the Roscommon Injury Unit in Roscommon Hospital, rather than Portiuncula. It said the average patient attending this unit was treated and discharged within 58 minutes of their arrival.
"Patients in the vicinity of Roscommon University Hospital, including East Galway, Athlone, South East Mayo, Longford and south Leitrim are reminded that Roscommon Injury Unit, located in the Urgent Care centre of Roscommon University Hospital, is open 7 days a week from 8am to 8pm and can treat both adults and children aged 5 and over," said the statement.
It concluded by apologising "to all patients and their families for any distress caused" as a result of the current delays in Portiuncula Hospital.
The statement issued on behalf of Regional Hospital Mullingar also said it was experiencing "very high numbers and protracted wait times" in its Emergency department.
"We are asking the public, where possible, to attend their GP in the first instance, or Midoc for minor injuries. Those attending the Emergency Department will be managed according to priority, so less urgent cases will experience delays," it warned.