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The health service is in “absolute crisis”, warned Unison, while the Royal College of Nursing said nurses were “crying on a daily basis” and frightened of the winter to come.
It comes as the first soldiers are set to begin driving ambulances this weekend, after a request for help from the Scottish Government.
Several health boards have already cancelled non-urgent surgeries, and in a statement on Friday NHS Grampian said it would be forced to prioritise the most sick children at the Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital over the weekend.
“This is the worst it’s ever been in the NHS,” said Willie Duffy, head of health at Unison.
“People are really struggling. They’re working extra shifts, they’re not getting any holidays, they’re having to stay on shift longer. There are real issues just now.”
Mr Duffy said he would write to the Scottish Government next week about the union’s concerns.
“It might be that we’re going to have to stop a lot of the [routine and elective] work that we do,” he said.
“I know that increases waiting times, but we’re struggling just now in terms of emergency stuff.
“They are going to have to really consider that as an option.”
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