Hospitals told to cancel all non-urgent operations after hectic festive period

Routine hospital appointments to be deferred to ease winter pressures

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt and Prime Minister Theresa May both defended the NEPP's recommended measures, which also include staffing additional inpatient beds and placing consultants at the front door of A&E units to assess whether patients really are emergency cases.

Willett said that the delay in non-urgent operations is not a crisis, but that NHS England is responding to concerns from doctors and nurses over a surge in flu cases caused by the cold weather.

NHS England is advising hospitals to defer non-urgent, elective operations and procedures until next month to help the health service deal with high pressures over the winter period.

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.

These areas allow people to sleep off the effects of alcohol in a safe environment, whilst freeing up bed spaces for other patients in need, and ensuring that paramedics remain free for emergencies.

If you are unsure where to go for advice or treatment, you can call the NHS 111 service (dial 111).

"Big issues are now nursing staffing levels, with extra beds being opened around hospitals to cope with winter surge and not enough nurses to go round".

An NHS England spokesman said: 'At this time of year, hospitals are extremely busy but thanks to hard-working NHS staff and robust plans in place to cope with winter pressures, they are generally coping.

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Some operations and procedures have been cancelled or postponed at two of West Sussex's biggest hospitals.

NHS patients missed eight million hospital appointments in England alone a year ago, costing almost £1billion of taxpayers' cash.

That is why we are making these further recommendations today.

The hospital has opened an unprecedented number of escalation beds in order to provide care for acutely unwell patients.

He added: "There's a great desire to get politicians to issue certain words, if you want me to say there's "extreme pressure" then I will".

"East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust has spent a number of weeks preparing our services in the run up to winter".

Due to a lack of funds, the body said it was now considering longer waits for surgery as well as a clamp down on over-the-counter medication.

Cordery also said it was "right to highlight the advice for people who are seeking advice for non-emergencies, so staff in A & E can focus on the sickest patients".

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