Information for patients and visitors this winter

Flu epidemic hits UK Hospitals over Christmas

Labour accused Jeremy Hunt of "doing a Grayling", after the Health Secretary - like his Transport counterpart Chris Grayling - was unavailable for interviews on a day when his department came under additional scrutiny.

The hospital said it was seeing a higher than normal number of patients, a greater number of patients whose transfer of care to another health organisation is delayed, and delays within the hospital itself due to staffing and service issues.

Hunt admitted there were "real pressures" facing the health service as NHS England urged hospitals to defer routine procedures such as hip replacements until the end of January to free up hospital beds and staff.

She said: "The NHS has been better prepared for this winter than ever before".

Adult Social Care also works very closely with the Hospital to help older people stay in their own homes and to help older people in Hospital return home as soon as possible.

"I must stress, if you need urgent care, our highly skilled staff are here all day and all night, but there are other more appropriate alternatives, from NHS 111 to pharmacies, for common ailments and other illnesses".

'Measures introduced by NHS England to delay non-urgent care further highlight the enormous scale of winter pressures.

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

The combination of factors means the hospital - which is now admitting around 10 new flu patients a day in addition to normal winter pressures - says its contingency arrangements and dedicated flu ward are running to plan.

Meanwhile, Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group said the health system in the whole county has declared OPEL4.

United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the county's hospitals, has said that it has seen a high number of very sick patients in recent days.

Prof Hinchliffe added: "If you are not seriously ill, A&E may not be the best place for you to get the treatment you need and you may wait for a long time". We have also asked colleagues from the national Emergency Care Improvement Programme to support a renewed focus upon our discharge process.

"We recognise that there will be upset and inconvenience caused to patients and their families, and we really appreciate their patience and understanding during this hard time".

NHS Lothian said it was monitoring the situation closely, adding that "due to current pressures it has been necessary to reschedule some elective procedures".

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