Bad weather conditions has caused disruption to services in hospitals and care centres across the UK, with some NHS staff being forced to stay overnight in hospitals.

Services have been affected by staff shortages, not least blood donation. Appealing for donations, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said at the West End Blood Donor Centre in London: “The recent bad weather has made it difficult for staff and donors to attend sessions and give blood and this has had an impact on the availability of some blood types.”

The Department of Health thanked NHS staff for their hard work, a spokesperson saying: “”Across the country, our staff are already working hard and doing great work to respond to this extra demand and I am very grateful for all their continued efforts.

“We’ve asked the NHS to put plans in place to help mitigate the risks of a surge in demand.”

Staff at the Basildon and Orsett Hospital in Essex have reportedly slept in office over the last few days in order to prevent the cancellation of morning appointments.

Alan Whittle, the hospital’s CE, said: “The staff’s dedication to patient care has been phenomenal, especially during extremely challenging conditions.

“All staff have quite literally gone that extra mile to ensure patients continue to receive the excellent standards of care that they expect.”

Although declining in some parts of the UK, snow continues to disrupt roads and transport links across the country.