Hundreds of new healthcare staff are to be recruited in the coming months under the HSE's Winter Plan, which went to Cabinet today.
Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has requested an 'all hands on deck' approach for the health service this winter.
Cabinet Ministers signed-off on the €168 million Winter Plan, which, for the first time, contains bespoke, site-level plans for individual hospitals.
The plan also sees an additional 600 healthcare staff hired, including 51 emergency department consultants.
Minister Stephen Donnelly has asked for improved access to diagnostic tests which will include patients having MRIs in the evenings and at weekends.
The plan also includes additional supports for GPs, community intervention teams, and local injury units to reduce pressure on emergency departments in hospitals.
Stephen Donnelly is also looking for expanded public sector capacity, and for space to be used in private hospitals.