There will be significant disruption and delays in hospitals across the country until 8pm today due to medical laboratory staff going on strike.
The Industrial Action by the MLSA will affect many inpatient and day case elective procedures as well as hospital outpatient appointments.
All routine GP testing services are to be suspended, and while some limited services will continue, there will be wide scale disruption to patients.
Emergency Departments already experienced the knock on effect of the action yesterday, as GPs could not send routine lab tests to hospitals and instead had to refer patients directly to emergency departments.
This led to delays for patients with non-urgent care needs and these delays are expected to continue today.
The HSE is continuing to seek further derogations relating to patients in hospitals for priority scopes.
Emergency Departments will continue as always to prioritise the treatment of the sickest and most urgent patients
Since Monday, hospitals have been contacting patients directly to cancel appointments.
As this is a developing situation, Saolta has asked patients not to phone hospitals at this time.
While efforts are continuing to try to avert this action, the HSE is working with the MLSA to ensure arrangements are in place today for the provision of a limited range of services safely.
Appointments and procedures disrupted by the strikes will be rescheduled as soon as possible.