Hospitals defer routine ops due to NHS pressure

NHS had to pay £1,000,000,000 because of missed appointments last year

The health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has apologised to patients in England affected by a decision.

I want to thank NHS staff who have worked incredibly hard under sustained pressure to take care of patients over the Christmas.

Thousands of operations and procedures in England's National Health Service may be postponed until January 31 because of the influx of emergency cases.

The news comes as the NHS across the country responds to a seasonal crisis with patients said to be at risk in overcrowded hospitals, due to a deluge of patients.

The health board asked patients to use emergency services responsibly, adding that some 999 response times at the the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow had been delayed by people parking in designated ambulance bays.

The hospital has also people should dial NHS 111 for advice if they are unsure treatment is needed.

Britain's healthcare system is reeling under pressure from limited staff, limited funds, and increasing number of patients during winter months.

Mr Graves added: "Unfortunately the current pressures that we are experiencing in our hospitals have resulted in the need to cancel some non-urgent elective operations, in line with national recommendations, to ensure that we have the beds available for emergency care".

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

"We expect these pressures to continue and there are early signs of increased flu prevalence", he explained.

Hospitals have been told to accept they may also have to have mixed sex wards if that becomes necessary, but the Sheffield trust also ruled this out for the time being.

"The NHS needs to take further action to increase capacity and minimise disruptive last-minute cancellations".

Milton Keynes has opened what it said was "an unprecedented number of escalation [extra] beds in order to provide care for acutely unwell patients" and it is asking sick people to avoid their A&E unit and seek help elsewhere, "unless it is a genuine emergency".

On December 11, the busiest night to date, 18 major hospitals in 12 NHS trusts across England did not have a single spare bed.

Charges for patients who miss their appointments has been discussed in the past, but plans by the government were ultimately shelved. When patients are in crowded emergency departments and staff can not actually move between patients and provide the basic level of care that's required, then safety is compromised.



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