Hospital 'may have to cancel operations'

The figures also show that bed occupancy rates in our hospitals regularly exceeded 90 per cent over the period, exceeding the recommended "safe" figure of 85 per cent.

To add to the winter woes of the health service, NHS managers this week announced the cancellation of tens of thousands of non-urgent operations in an attempt to ease the pressure on hospitals.

When politicians tell you that "demand" is too high or that "too many patients" are presenting to emergency departments, doctors roll their eyes, exasperated at the ministerial hogwash trotted out to excuse the fact that those in charge are failing the healthcare of this country.

Lancashire Teaching Hospitals Trust says some day case and some outpatient appointments are likely to affected, though they could not confirm yet how many appointments would be postponed.

In the south of the county, 300 beds had been blocked for at least a week while 117 had been blocked for 21 days or more.

It added that hospitals could continue to defer operations considered not to be urgent, to "free up capacity for our sickest patients" to January 31.

But the pressures on Scarborough's accident and emergency department are rapidly increasing.

"We fully understand the upset and inconvenience this causes to patients and their families and apologise to them for it".

The Local Government Association said the NHS's problems showed the urgent need for money to plug the £2.3bn gap in local authority social care funding that would arise by 2020.

Foluke Ajayi, chief operating officer at UHMBT, said: "Our Emergency Departments (ED) are under significant pressure - and a consequent effect of this is that our wards are also very busy".

"We have been urging people to only come to the Emergency Department in an emergency situation".

"We have had to cancel a small number of operations, including four yesterday across the trust".

And so it is left to doctors like me to assess, care for and treat patients as best we can, alongside apologising for the failings of the health service.

HALO's are working in collaboration with A&E staff to assist with the smooth running of hospital handovers during busy periods.

Why? Well, analysis from the health think tank the King's Fund highlights two key factors.

"However, it's also obvious that no single party has the answer to fix this problem". All the criticism of the NHS must inevitably affect their sense of worth and ability to see a future in their organisation.

"If you are unsure you can call the NHS 111 service to speak to a trained call handler who can arrange for you to be seen by an out of hours GP service or call an ambulance if that's what you need".

Chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Janet Davies said: "Today's figures show that nearly every day last week, NHS hospitals in England were at bursting point, with over 90 per cent of beds being used".

A poll of more than 100 NHS trusts with an A&E revealed 16 of the 58 that responded had been put on the highest level of alert due to "sustained pressure", reports The Sun.

Vanessa Coleman