HEALTHCARE chiefs praised staff for their “amazing” efforts in delivering public services.

Many NHS24 professionals volunteered to come in early or when they were not on shift, while arrangements are in place to pick staff up and bring them to centres.

Like many aspects of public life across the country, the service has been affected by the severe weather.

On social media, NHS Forth Valley is asking patients not to call unless the matter is urgent.

There is no need to cancel appointments today (Thursday March 1) as the service understands many patients will be unable to attend. Arrangements will be put in place in due course to rescheule any appointments missed.

The majority of outpatient clinics and non-urgent operations have also been cancelled.

People are being advised not to travel to Forth Valley Royal Hospital unless it is essential. The amber weather warning has been extended into Friday (March 2) morning by the Met Office.

Efforts are being made to increase the compliment, NHS 24 is operating at 50 per cent capacity.

People are being urged to only call if they “absolutely need “ support.

Dr Laura Ryan, NHS 24 medical director, said: “We have seen many staff battle the elements to get to our centres, including on foot and we have arranged transport and accommodation to get people into work where possible.

“We will today continue to work with other agencies to make arrangements for staff to be picked up and brought in to centres.

“We have had staff volunteering to come in early ahead of the weather, and coming in to work when they were not on shift.

“Our people have been amazing in their efforts to deliver services and we pay tribute to them for their endurance and support. This includes frontline and support staff.”

Patients are being asked to remain patient if they do need to call.

Dry Ryan continued: “Many GP surgeries are experiencing difficulty opening and while we will do what we can to help, we would advise the public only to call if they cannot wait until their surgery opens.

“If you do need to call us, please be patient as it may take longer to have your call answered.

Those with internet access can visit to access a wealth of information.

Also, keep an eye on social media channels for further updates.

The director added: “We will continue to work with colleagues across NHSScotland to ensure that we can deliver the best possible service in the circumstances to the public at this very challenging time.”