A&E Consultants say 'patients are dying prematurely' after being nursed in corridors

Flu map of Britain shows worst hit areas as Australian flu spreads

The situation threatens a repeat of last winter, when some hospitals had to turn gyms and storage areas into temporary wards as increasing numbers of patients had to wait hours on trolleys in corridors or in ambulances before being given a bed.

The Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust - 57.6%. Only Bristol left more people waiting for half a day than the resort's 75. The total number of patients seen in December, including walk-in centres - was up by 983 to 17,078 last month.

Meanwhile, nearly two-thirds of respondents (65%) said the Government was managing the current pressures on the NHS badly, 38 Degrees said.

Campaigning website 38 Degrees, which commissioned the poll, said that when the figure was extrapolated across the country, almost four million adults have already been affected by winter pressures in the NHS.

A significant increase in Social Care Funding to allow patients who are fit to be discharged from acute beds to be cared for in the community.

"During this time pressures on our services led to an unusually large number of A and E breaches.

Of course there will be increased pressures at this time of year, but with proper planning we wouldn't need to experience the annual winter crisis".

Today's stats also reveal that cancer care targets have taken a hit - just 82.5% of patients received their first treatment within 62 days of referral.

This includes the additional "escalation beds" which are used when the hospital is struggling to cope with demand.

The letter adds that sometimes the consultants see over 50 patients at a time who are waiting to be shifted to a bed in the emergency departments.

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"I've heard an overwhelming number of reports from clinicians about how flu and respiratory illness, combined with other winter pressures and exceptional and sustained levels of demand, is changing the way they are treating patients arriving at A&E".

The consultants' letter, leaked to the Health Service Journal, acknowledged the best efforts of staff, trusts and clinical commissioning groups.

The, "facts remain, however, that the NHS is severely and chronically underfunded", they write.

Dr Mark Holland claimed the chaos that has seen patients waiting hours in ambulances and in hospital corridors could have been avoided.

In an unprecedented move, doctors told May that 120 patients a day are being managed in some hospital corridors, with "some dying prematurely".

Answering questions after a speech in south London on Thursday, Mrs May said flu was putting extra pressure on services.

The Royal College of Surgeons said it was "disappointing" that just 77.3 per cent of patients at major A&E departments were treated within four hours, worse than in December 2016 when 79.3 per cent of patients were seen.

The only exceptions to this are cancer operations and what the NHS called "time-critical procedures" where the surgery has to go ahead to avoid the patient's condition deteriorating further.

During the same week, 16,690 patients were also kept waiting in an ambulance for more than 30 minutes before they could be handed over to A&E, a slight improvement.

The latest figures from Public Health England (PHE) show the number of flu patients admitted to hospital were two-and-a-half times higher than at the same time past year.

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