An NHS doctor has issued a public plea as he highlighted the pressures of ‘extremely busy and overcrowded' hospitals across Lanarkshire.

As Covid cases remain steady with Scotland moving to a less restrictive strategy of living with the virus, A&E room and hospitals still remain under pressure.

Dr Calvin Lightbody, an A&E consultant at University Hospital Hairmyres has pleaded with the public to avoid emergency rooms unless it is absolutely necessary.

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He said that his hospital is currently overcrowded, but the staff were working hard to see all patients in the department, but added University Hospital Monklands and University Hospital Wishaw were experiencing the same issues.

He said: “All three emergency departments in NHS Lanarkshire are currently extremely busy. I’m here at Hairmyres hospital in East Kilbride which is very busy and overcrowded just now.

However, despite the growing pressure on Dr Lightbody’s department, he emphasised that people should still attend with certain problems.

He added: “We are still very much open for business. If you have an emergency condition you should still go to A&E as usual.

“So things like chest pain, breathing difficulties, severe pain, major bleeding. Anything of that nature you should still continure to come to A&E as usual.

“I want to ask however, if it is not an emergency condition, or something that could be seen elsewhere, that you consider seeing your GP, phoning NHS24 on 111, or perhaps contacting you local pharmiacist.

“That would be of great assistance to us in A&E, but if you do come, I would ask you to be patient with us as you may have a wait of several hours to be seen.

“We are working extremely hard in very difficuly circumstance to do the very best we can, so please be kind and patient to our staff.”

Yesterday, the Scottish Conservatives said the deterioration of A&E waiting times over four consecutive weeks was a “damning indictment” of SNP health secretary Humza Yousaf.

READ MORE: Scottish A&E waiting times 'woeful' after month-long decline

Labour said he had allowed a state of crisis to become "the new normal" for the NHS.

Public Health Scotland (PHS) reported 69.8 cent of patients were seen within the official four-hour target in the week to February 20, down from 73.2% the previous week, and 74.4%, 75.6% and 77.7% in the weeks before that.

It come as NHS Lanarkshire highlighted the growing number of reports involving violence and agreession towards staff earlier this week.

Linzi Munro, a care home liaison nurse, has also made the heartfelt plea for kindness in a video featuring photography of frontline staff.

All participants in the video had been subjected to some form of hostility in recent months  –  indicative of wider reports that staff and partners continue to experience violence and aggression from a minority.

Ms Munro said the situation is ‘simply unacceptable’.

She said: “We know the last two years has been a really tough time . . . we know it can feel like it’s never-ending. We know the pandemic and its very real impact can lead to feelings of frustration, doubt and fear.

“We also know and understand that patience can wear thin, people reach their wits end . . . and emotions can boil over.”

“But please remember as health and social care staff we are committed to caring – no matter the circumstances.”

“We are human too – and we carry worries and concerns of our own.

“It’s often not easy. But we keep going.”

She added: “We will continue to be here for you – no matter what the future holds.

“But violence and aggression is simply unacceptable.

“And as we continue to navigate through these testing times, our plea is simple – and from the heart. Please bear with us.

“Please. Be kind.”