Health board staff deployed to admin and cleaning roles
Office-based workers at a Scottish health board are being deployed to cleaning and administrative duties.
NHS Lanarkshire said it had taken "exceptional measures" after its hospitals, Hairmyres, Wishaw and Monklands, had been "inundated".
Some office staff have volunteered to work at those hospitals and GP centres over the next five days.
Elective or non-urgent procedures have also been postponed for the rest of the week to ease the post-Christmas burden.
It comes as some other Scottish health boards postponed planned operations in order to free up beds to cope with increased demand at their A&E departments.
Chief executive of NHS Lanarkshire, Calum Campbell, explained the situation in his area: "This is an unparalleled situation in Lanarkshire and exceptional circumstances need exceptional measures to enable us to deliver our number one healthcare priority – patient safety.
"We asked our office-based staff to consider volunteering to suspend their 'day-job' to support their clinical colleagues, bearing in mind our key purpose and commitment as an organisation to care for people who need our help.
"Not surprisingly, we've had a tremendous response which demonstrates the strong team spirit that exists within the NHS."
New figures show that across Scotland waiting times in A&E units remained below a key target in the week before Christmas as demand rose by almost 20% on the previous year.
In the week ending December 24, 83.3% of patients were seen and either admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours, against a target of 95%.
The figure represents a slight increase from 81.1% the previous week and is down from 93.5% on the same week the previous year.
A total of 26,569 people visited A&E during the week, up almost 20% from the 22,267 attendances in the same week in 2016.
What's happening in your area this week?
NHS Lanarkshire – It reiterated its message for people not to attend A&E, unless requiring urgent treatment. In addition, the board has postponed non-urgent elective procedures for the remainder of this week. To help ease the burden, staff who would normally be office based have volunteered to be re-deployed at hospitals and GP practices in administrative and cleaning roles.
Dumfries and Galloway – The emergency departments new Dumfries hospital has been dealing with a high volume of patients resulting in the suspension of some outpatient clinics and the postponement of some elective surgeries.
Forth Valley – So far no planned operations have been postponed, but A&Es have been "very busy". Increased admissions have been due in part to sicker patients and freezing weather earlier in December led to an increase in people injuring themselves in falls.
Grampian – Fourteen routine procedures were postponed last week due to pressure on the system. However, at this time of the year fewer elective procedures are scheduled in anticipation that there will be increased demand.
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