All hospitals face 'high pressure' as the busy winter period takes hold of A&Es across Greater Manchester.

Corridors packed with waiting patients and busy staff run off their feet are already familiar scenarios in some units.

Health bosses say the 'intensive' winter period, notorious for pushing hospitals to their limits, is well underway.

The Royal Oldham and Stepping Hill emergency units were packed on Monday, and on Tuesday Wigan Royal Infirmary felt the pressure.

None of the hospitals have been put on 'black alert' or OPEL 4 status - a term used internally by the NHS when a hospital is “unable to deliver comprehensive care” and patient safety is at risk.

Jon Rouse, chief officer of the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, told the M.E.N A&E units were 'very busy'.

“Nobody is pretending that the pressure isn’t high”, Mr Rouse said.

“We are seeing some significant pressure on our A&Es at this current time.”

He added: "It feels like we are moving into the main, most intensive winter period.”

Royal Oldham Hospital

Pressures vary day-to-day with regional leaders attempting to ease the strain on hospitals during their busiest periods.

A regional system is in place to monitor the demand across all hospitals at all times and, where possible, spread demand.

An influx of elderly, frail patients and the outbreak of winter bugs are two reasons why emergency rooms have been packed.

Another problem is people turning up at A&E departments with minor ailments that could be treated by a GP, pharmacist or walk-in centre.

Mr Rouse, when asked why patients were waiting in hospital corridors, said some of the older hospitals were not built to deal with the volume patients coming through their doors in modern times.

“It is possible that in order to get into the triage cubicles that some people may have to wait in the corridor for a period before they’re seen," he said.

“Some of these A&Es were built many years ago, and we’re trying to deal with more people than they were ever intended to see.

"Stepping Hill is a good example, and we have quite a few like that across Greater Manchester.

“If individuals are waiting in corridors, we try to make sure those waits are kept to an absolute minimum.

“Yes, there can be a wait if there isn’t a cubicle available.”

Wigan Infirmary

Mr Rouse urged people who fall into a 'priority group' to get their flu vaccination.

Anyone who is ill or hurt and unsure where to get treatment is urged to contact the NHS 111 phone line.

In a message to patients, Mr Rouse said: "We will keep our A&Es safe, we will make sure that if you need care you will get that care.

"You will be properly nursed, you will be treated and to the highest standards of the NHS.

"Be patient with us and we will make sure you are seen and treated to the best of our ability.

"If you don’t need to come to A&E there are really good alternatives in every geography of Greater Manchester.

"If you’re in doubt, dial 111."

The Manchester Evening News requested bed occupancy data for all hospitals in Greater Manchester but was told the figures were not available.