01/03/2012 10:17 EST | Updated 03/04/2012 05:12 EST

Overfilled B.C. Hospital Storing Patients In Lobby

Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster, B.C., has suddenly become so overcrowded that it has set up beds in the building’s lobby and hallways.

Photos taken in the lobby Tuesday evening show dozens of blue cloth screens set up in the lobby area to try to provide privacy during the surge of patients.

The overcrowding situation also ties up ambulance crews, who have to remain with patients and monitor them instead of heading back out to be available for other emergency calls.

Emergency dispatchers are now doing what they can to divert patients to other hospitals.

The Fraser Health Authority spokesperson said there was no specific reason for the surge, saying the winter holidays are often the busiest time of year for hospitals with many illnesses and falls.

The spokesperson asked that anyone who has a medical condition that does not require emergency treatment instead go to a family doctor or walk-in clinic.