Dr Lailah Peel, chair of BMA West of Scotland Regional Junior Doctors Committee, spoke about the extreme pressures the NHS was facing and the impact on patients.
In a series of tweets, the doctor revealed she had been told about ambulance crews taking so long to arrive that patients were dead when they got to them.
She went on to warn that the situation in accident and emergency departments could get worse over the coming days, adding that colleagues in the NHS were “breaking” under the strain of a workload which was becoming “unmanageable”.
Dr Peel tweeted: “Our hospitals are full. Meaning we can’t get patients into them, mostly because we can’t get them out. This means our A&Es are often at a standstill.
“There’s simply no room for us to see new patients, and we’re being kept busy handing over and reviewing existing patients.
“We talk a lot about the four-hour target but there’s so many more failures happening. Patients are waiting for dangerously long times – to get an ambulance, outside A&E, for triage, to be seen, for treatment and for admission. It’s so incredibly dangerous.”
She added: “Patients will die across the NHS this Christmas – for no other reason than the broken system failing them. I hope it’s not your loved ones, but it could be. No-one knows when they’ll next be with us in A&E. Most dread being there and sadly right now most of us staff do too.”
She added: “We are beyond crisis point in our NHS. Working in A&E this is an inescapable fact – but I am sure it is equally true for many doctors and staff across our NHS. These are problems that the BMA have warned of for some considerable time, but are being born out over what is no doubt already the worst period of pressures most of us can remember.
“The problems are often demonstrated most acutely in A&E, but they are system-wide. Lack of staff, and challenges in social care mean that patients cannot be safely discharged into the community, so beds are taken up by patients who don’t need to be in hospital and hence there is simply no space to admit patients who remain stuck in A&E for far too long.
“There are and will be incidents that staff and patients have experienced which are first and foremost unacceptable and in some cases tragic for the patients (and their loved ones) concerned.
“And the impact of this on staff and their mental well-being should not be underestimated. We need urgent action both to try and improve flow through the system and crucially to support staff. Without this, we risk losing even more staff and things getting even worse.”
Her comments came in the wake of pleas from NHS bosses in both Greater Glasgow and Clyde and Lothian, who were urging members of the public to help ease the “pressure” being faced by A&E.
People were being advised not to attend A&E unless it was urgent, and seek help instead from sources such as pharmacists, NHS 24 and GPs.
NHS Lothian chief executive Calum Campbell warned earlier this week that hospitals were “being pushed to the limit”.
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “These comments paint a bleak picture of the situation in our health service.
“The Health Secretary must immediately put in place fresh measures to relieve pressure on social care, ambulances and A&E departments.
“Scots are facing the festive period from hell with vital parts of the health service teetering on the brink.”
The Scottish Government has been asked to comment.