928 patients faced 12-hour A&E wait over Christmas

Theresa May meets patient Sandra Dunn at Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey where she later apologised to the country for the mounting problems the NHS is facing

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.

A Prestatyn GP says healthcare in North Wales is "horrendously pressurised at the minute" and fears for patients safety.

.

The number of people suffering from flu in Scotland has doubled compared with the same time a year ago.

It is both shocking and depressing that once again Queen Alexandra Hospital has been placed on black alert.

The HSCB apologised to patients and their families for the "upset and inconvenience" caused by the long waits.

I had two emergency admissions to A&E over the festive period after a routine outpatient procedure led to anaphylactic reaction.

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".

Officials at the health board, which runs three hospitals in central Scotland and is the third largest in the country, say the current situation is unparalleled and that "exceptional measures" have had to be put in place. There are 25 or more ambulances and urgent patients waiting outside at this hospital alone.

We are reviewing this on a weekly basis and if there is a chance of an appointment or procedure being cancelled our teams will always look to speak to patients directly in advance.' Said a hospital spokesperson.

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"But we are seeing more people visit the emergency department than we had planned for and we are seeing more people arrive by ambulance".

The organisation warned that those with "less urgent conditions" would have to wait longer.

'I recognise that it's hard if somebody is delayed on their admission to hospital or if somebody has an operation postponed and we will hope to ensure that those operations can be reinstated as soon as possible'.

Representing the HSCB, Seamus O'Reilly, medical director of the Northern Trust, told BBC Radio Ulster's Evening Extra programme: "It's not minor complaints that are clogging up our departments - it is genuinely sick elderly patients". "We had the sudden realisation that we were going to be waiting for some time and there were a lot of poorly people doing the same".

"This is due to the measures we have been implementing over the last few days". We are simply not coping, we were at full capacity before the sorts of pressures that we should be able to manage - like a rise in flu - is pushing us over the edge.

It also issued an appeal on Twitter for off-duty staff to come in to work on Tuesday night - the second such appeal this week.

Numerous staff work in office roles at the hospitals or at the board's Kirklands HQ, but have volunteered to take up other positions after facilities became inundated with patients over the festive wintry period.

A spokesman for NHS England told The Telegraph: "Hospitals, GPs, ambulances, and other frontline NHS services have been extremely busy between Christmas and New Year, reporting higher levels of respiratory illness and some indications of increasing patient illness severity and flu".

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