Hospital patients on the Republic’s public waiting lists have had their planned operations cancelled as medical centres struggle to cope with the influx of admissions from A&E departments.
A&E departments are seeing 10 times the normal number of patients with fractures due to falls in snow and ice since before Christmas.
There has also been a surge in people with heart and respiratory complaints needing care.
Cork University Hospital said it is dealing with an “unprecedented” number of trauma patients and has cancelled 22 surgeries for other people who were due to be admitted for non-emergency operations.
It has had to run three orthopaedic operating theatres daily to deal with the rise in injuries.
A spokesman said the cancellations had affected a range of patients and, while they will impact on waiting lists, they will be rescheduled as soon as possible.
Beaumont Hospital in Dublin has also had to cancel a significant number surgeries and has doubled the orthopaedic operating slots.
Orthopaedic surgeon Peter O'Rourke confirmed he was forced to cancel four surgeries this week.
A spokesman for St James's Hospital in Dublin said it did not have to cancel operations but its orthopaedic admissions are 44 higher than at this time last year.
And St Vincent's Hospital in the city is now seeing 30 patients a day in its orthopaedic clinic mostly as a result of weather injuries — triple the numbers dealt with last year.