Hospitals advise patients to attend appointments as normal unless contacted directly

Doctor apologizes for ‘Third World conditions’ in UK hospitals

Doctor apologizes for ‘Third World conditions’ in UK hospitals

In an unprecedented move on Tuesday, NHS medical director Sir Bruce Keogh ordered the cancellation of all non-urgent surgery until at least February.

One hospital doctor, Chris Turner, tweeted: "It's 0400 and I've been lying awake for the last hour worrying about how we manage the department when my shift starts in 12 hours time".

According to Dr Nick Scriven from the Society for Acute Medicine, the problem "is as bad as I've ever known".

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has apologised to patients in England who have had their operations postponed. 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.

Some hospitals have barely had a single free bed since mid-November, recording night after night of being "100 per cent" full.

Non urgent procedures and some outpatient appointments have been cancelled until at least next month to help A&E departments cope with winter demand.

"We do definitely need a better long term sustainable plan for how we're going to get the right amount of funding into both health and social care", she told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

The board's office-based employees were asked to consider volunteering to help their colleagues in hospitals and GP practices by taking on cleaning and administrative roles over the next five days.

But it said cancer operations and time-critical procedures should go ahead as planned.

Theresa May, speaking after visiting homeowners who had benefited from stamp duty reforms in Berkshire, paid tribute to NHS staff and pledged operations would be rescheduled "as soon as possible".

Mrs Griffiths said: "Our teams have worked extraordinarily hard this Christmas and New Year and, despite the very challenging circumstances, they have done it, yet again, with exemplary skill, kindness and compassion".

"Like many trusts we have seen a high number of very sick patients in our hospitals with complex health needs, which means despite our best efforts due to the demand we are not able to admit all patients for their routine operations as planned".

"I would also like to thank everyone who has been assisting us - from those only using A&E when absolutely necessary, to families helping loved ones leave hospital in a timely way to release beds for others in need".

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