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14 January 2018, 09:51 | Randall Craig
Flu epidemic hits UK Hospitals over Christmas
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.
With the incidents of flu rising in the community and in our hospitals, and the pressures that we always see in the first few weeks of January... that it's important we give the hospitals time and space to manage the demand that we anticipate will come through.
NHS England director Bruce Keogh says the pressures may increase because of "early signs" of spreading flu.
"It's very important that patients with planned operations, procedures or outpatient appointments should attend as normal unless they are specifically contacted by their hospital and asked not to".
Thousands of patients face long delays as many operations have been postponed amid unprecedented demand.
Speaking to Sky News, he said postponing operations was "absolutely not what I want". Now that the holidays are over, the situation has become even more serious.
"I would urge people to avoid the hospital's Emergency Department unless it is a genuine emergency".
Meanwhile the public has helped by largely listening to appeals around making the appropriate choices if they feel unwell this winter, and by taking note of patient visiting rules.
Our NHS was recently ranked as the best and safest healthcare system in the world, and the Government is supporting it this winter with an additional £437m as well as £1bn extra social care funding this year.
Dr Nick Scriven, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, has said many hospitals reported more than 99 per cent capacity in the week before Christmas.
Worthing and St Richard's Hospitals remain extremely busy and following the busiest Christmas and New Year period our staff have ever experienced.
He told the Press Association, he said: "Every type 1 emergency department that I know of is under serious and sustained pressure.It feels worse than the equivalent period past year".
Sir, I challenge the supposition of the chief nursing officer for England that missed clinic appointments are so costly ("Timewasting patients are costing NHS £1bn a year", Jan 2).
A spokesperson for the East and North Herts NHS Trust told BOB fm: "The Trust very much appreciates everyone's patience and understanding in helping our staff to provide good quality care for patients, especially those arriving as emergencies".
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