Jeremy Hunt apologises to patients whose operations are cancelled

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

Officials also told hospitals to delay routine outpatient appointments to concentrate on emergency care.

It's after reports hospitals across England are postponing non-urgent surgery until next month.

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. "That is why we are making these further recommendations".

The British Medical Association have criticised the move as a short-term fix which does not ensure that the NHS will keep up with rising demand in the long term.

Each year the service comes under increased pressure in the winter, largely as a result of an increase in certain illnesses over this period, such as flu. The last time the job felt so impossible for me was Mid-Staffs.

Since December 24, KGH has admitted 767 ill patients to hospital beds - just three less than Northampton General Hospital, who have seen more than 100 more patients per day. We have also asked colleagues from the national Emergency Care Improvement Programme to support a renewed focus upon our discharge process.

Theresa May said it was "disappointing" and "frustrating" for those affected but insisted the health service was coping.

"The NHS has been better prepared for this winter than ever before, we have put extra funding in", she said.

Lib Dem health spokesman - and former health minister - Norman Lamb said the situation was "wholly predictable" and the government knew it was not putting "sufficient resources" into the NHS.

Tracy Bullock, the chief executive of Mid Cheshire hospitals NHS foundation trust, tweeted that, in her 34 years working in the NHS, she had "never seen anything like this".

A number of planned operations and outpatient clinics at KGH have been cancelled today (Tuesday) as the hospital struggles to cope with emergency pressures.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt on Wednesday apologized for the problems.

Newcastle, Bristol, Manchester and Cardiff already offer supervised areas - more commonly called "drunk tanks" - where drunk revellers can be checked over, and even sleep it off, instead of being taken to A&E unnecessarily.

"It is under unprecedented pressure - we seem to hear that regularly at this time of year, for the last ten years".