Operations at Hinchingbrooke Hospital postponed due to pressure on NHS

Jeremy Hunt Dorset County Hospital

Jeremy Hunt Dorset County Hospital

Their warning coincides with a warning from NHS Providers, that represents 98% of hospital, mental health, community and ambulance service trusts in England, which says the health service can no longer deliver adequate care within current funding.

The Hospital announced at 5pm yesterday that patients should only attend in a genuine emergency, with the Hospital opening "an unprecedented number of escalation beds in order to provide care for acutely unwell patients".

At least 17 hospital trusts - one in 10 - have declared a major incident in the last 24 hours, the BBC understands.

Separately, health bosses are warning that winter pressures on the NHS, including flu, have brought the health service to a "watershed" moment.

Ambulance Trusts have also experienced soaring demand, with the North East Ambulance Service declaring the highest level of alert, and the London Ambulance Service recording 320 calls in a single hour.

He said the lack of beds meant the practice of "boarding" patients on trolleys was now common.

But he said the move was needed given the pressure hospitals were under.

"Objectively, the NHS's performance and offer to patients are stronger now than they were 15 years ago or more, but the experiences of patients at times like this do not reflect that".

The president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, Taj Hassan, said: "In increasing numbers of departments, conditions are just bad and staff are stretched to the limit just trying to deliver safe care".

The government says it has made extra money available to help the NHS during the busy winter months.

Prime Minister Theresa May has rejected claims the NHS is in crisis, telling the media the state health service is better prepared for the winter illness spike "more than ever before".

If you can't see the NHS Tracker, click or tap here. Chief executive of Warrington and Halton Hospitals Mel Pickup said the overcrowding and pressures now faced by hospital staff were the worst in 30 years.

But sanctions have now been suspended, NHS England confirmed.

Speaking to Iain Dale, Mr Hunt said: "A crisis is when something goes wrong and you don't have a plan".

"[NHS staff] are doing a fantastic job and their dedication is ensuring that people are getting treatment that they need."
"There is increased potential for patient care and safety to be compromised". Now that the holidays are over, the situation has become even more serious. "And that is a huge tragedy for us in our specialty and that's why we are so desperate to see things improve".

Esther Herbert accompanied her 87-year-old mother to Worcestershire Royal Hospital before Christmas.

Attending booked appointments is a "small but effective" way to help, she said.

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