HOSPITALS will work at full capacity for just four days from tomorrow until January 10 due to strikes, holidays and weekends.
The three-week go-slow will be another blow to patients on near-record waiting lists.
Junior doctors will strike from Wednesday to Saturday and then for six days from January 3 to 9.
There will be three bank holiday rotas for Christmas and the new year, while figures suggest half of hospitals do not do routine operations at the weekend.
In England, more than 6.4million are on waiting lists — down in October but the third highest on record.
NHS medical director, Professor Sir Stephen Powis, warned 999 should only be used in emergencies.
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He said: “For everything else, use 111 online.
“Services are feeling the strain of winter pressure.
“With Christmas and new year, strikes will prolong the period of reduced activity.”
It comes as British Medical Association junior doctors in Wales voted to strike from January 15.
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But the union struck a potential deal and asked specialist doctors to vote on a pay rise worth between 6.1 and 9.2 per cent.
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