ONE Scottish health board is warning patients to expect long waits at A&E after all three of its hospitals reached “maximum capacity”.
NHS Lanarkshire announced the news earlier on Tuesday evening, saying that its emergency departments are “currently overwhelmed”.
University hospitals Hairmyres, Monklands and Wishaw in the health board area are all at maximum capacity.
The board said that some cancer procedures had had to be cancelled as a result of the ongoing crisis.
NHS Lanarkshire asked people to think twice about coming to A&E “unless it is life-threatening”.
Judith Park, NHS Lanarkshire’s director of acute services, said: “Emergency Departments at our three acute hospitals are currently overwhelmed by the number of patients attending and needing admitted.
“We are sorry that this means patients are having to wait much longer to be seen than we would like, and well in excess of our target of four hours. A high number of these patients need to be admitted which is causing severe pressures throughout our hospitals. Unfortunately, we have already had to cancel some cancer procedures as a result.
“The safety of our patients and staff is our top priority and we are taking all necessary action to ensure safe and effective patient care and address the current pressures. We are making the best use of the staff and beds that are available to enable us to treat patients appropriately and we have additional support from the military coming in to help in our hospitals later this week.
“Right now, we would encourage people to really consider if they need to attend A&E. Unless it is life-threatening, we would advise anyone who is feeling unwell to visit the NHS Inform website or call NHS24 on 111 for health advice in the first instance.
“To help free up hospital beds, we are also grateful for any assistance from family members to allow us to discharge people home or to interim care placements as soon as possible.”