In a drastic step to try to free up hospital staff and beds, NHS England had also said that the deferral of non-urgent elective care - such as hip or knee replacements - should be extended until at least the end of the month. Cancer surgery should go ahead as planned, hospitals have been told.
Winter is always a busy time for the NHS, and we would urge people to remember that our hospital A&E departments are for emergency care only.
Earlier today (Wednesday), the Government's Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt apologies after services across the county reported they were struggling with a surge of patients since Christmas.
The board's office-based employees were asked to consider volunteering to help their colleagues in hospitals and GP practices by taking on cleaning and administrative roles over the next five days.
There would also be more resources for ambulatory care and clinics as alternatives to hospital admissions, and a twice-daily review of all patients to facilitate discharge.
She added: "The NHS has been better prepared for this winter than ever before, we have put extra funding in".More news: Mudslide-stricken California town is all but emptied out
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Dr Nick Scriven, the president of the Society for Acute Medicine (SAM) and a consultant at a hospital in the north of England, worked on Monday from 8am until 7pm.
"Winter is an extremely busy time of year for the ambulance service and the NHS more widely and we will continue to work as a collective with our health board partners to manage increased demand". He said there is no question the hospitals are facing real pressures at the moment.
NHS Lanarkshire said its three hospital sites at Hairmyres, Wishaw and Monklands had been "inundated" over the festive period and "exceptional measures" were necessary to ensure patient safety. We are asking local people to use the service carefully so it can best support those who need it most - for example, people with serious injuries, chest pain or significant blood loss.
The volume of calls has increased partly because the population is rising and ageing and patients are finding it increasingly hard to see a GP.
"Patients who spend many hours on a trolley - and these are often elderly patients - they are the sickest patients in our department".
She called for people to cancel appointments in "good time".
Burnley MP Julie Cooper slammed the move as "shocking" and said it represented a "new low for the NHS under the Tories".