Pictures show the second day of queues of ambulances outside a busy Greater Manchester hospital as pressure mounts on the NHS.
It comes as the latest official NHS data reveals a total of 539 patients were admitted to hospitals in Greater Manchester on Boxing Day alone, with the figures illustrating patients were coming in faster than they could be discharged. Available hospital beds in Greater Manchester, meanwhile, are said to be almost full - the data shows occupancy is currently at around 98 per cent, with around a tenth of all beds filled with Covid-positive patients.
In pictures taken this evening, Thursday December 29, queues of ambulances can be seen lining up outside the Manchester Royal Infirmary.
As previously reported in the Manchester Evening News , NHS bosses have issued an 'urgent' plea to the public to stay away from A&E units amid what they called 'unprecedented levels of attendance' .
It has since been revealed that hospitals in Greater Manchester have been fluctuating between 'internal alert levels' - activated to allow additional steps to be taken to maintain safe services for patients and help staff cope with growing pressures.
The NHS in Greater Manchester said the situation at A&Es was also being hampered by staff sickness and an 'increased prevalence of flu'. And for the first time, bosses also urged people with flu-like or Covid symptoms into the new year to stay at home to protect the NHS and the general population.
And a leaked memo to staff at the Northern Care Alliance (NCA) has confirmed the NHS trust is at its 'highest level of internal escalation' amid ongoing and increasingly mounting pressures being faced across the region.
The email, which was first leaked to The Sunday Times and shared with the Manchester Evening News on Thursday (December 29), tells staff at the trust, which runs four hospitals and community services within Salford, Oldham, Bury and Rochdale, that the NCA is at the 'highest level of internal escalation' and 'managing our situation as a Business Continuity Incident'.
A North West Ambulance Service spokesperson earlier said: "The health service as a whole is currently dealing with a high number of patients. During these very busy periods, patient handovers can become a challenge.
"We continually monitor the situation and work closely with our hospital colleagues to help emergency crews clear as quickly possible to enable them to respond to other patients. As always, the public can assist by only calling 999 in life-threatening emergencies and considering other options including NHS 111 online, GPs and pharmacies for less urgent issues."
On Wednesday (December 28) the NHS Greater Manchester Integrated Care Partnership urged people only to call 999 or attend A&E in an 'life-threatening' emergency following a surge in patients needing care after Christmas. It said the current situation was 'beyond anything we have experienced before' in a stark and dramatic message.
And, on Tuesday (December 27), the North West Ambulance Service urged patients to ring 111 or seek help online instead of calling 999.
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