Horton hospital trust pressure level drops but extra beds stay

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The problems at New Cross Hospital were particularly acute on December 29, when 91 patients waited outside its packed A&E department in ambulances for longer than half an hour - nearly two thirds of all patients arriving by ambulance.

It has a growing catchment population of 535,000 residents in east Surrey and north east West Sussex and is the designated hospital for Gatwick Airport and the local M25 and M23 motorway network.

"If in doubt use the "Health and Care Oxfordshire" app from Oxfordshire CCG to locate your nearest health provider".

Staff and trade unions have expressed serious concern about the situation, with one representative describing it as the worst he has seen.

Anas Sarwar, the Scottish Labour health spokesman, said the increase in flu cases was "concerning" but "the rise in numbers of people being affected should not be used as an excuse by an SNP government which has left our NHS under-pressure and under-resourced".

St John Ambulance said their volunteers had worked under supervision for about five hours.

The number of flu cases in Scotland during the last week of December was double that during the same period a year ago.

It has been revealed that in one day alone, 14 people spent at least an hour queuing in ambulances outside Cornwall's biggest hospital.

Butler-Smith posted a picture of the ambulances waiting outside A&E to Facebook when she noticed that ambulance staff appeared concerned about the delays in handing over patients.

Guidelines warn ambulance staff to transfer patients to the care of doctors within 15 minutes of arrival so they can attend other 999 calls.

It comes as new figures show almost 17,000 people waited longer than 30 minutes in ambulances, before being taken into A and E, in the same week.

LGA chair Lord Porter said: "Councils want to help and are working hard to get people out of hospital and back into the community, close to their loved ones, this winter". Dr Nick Scriven, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said: "The position at the moment is as bad as I've ever known".

"The situation is in crisis. It would be fair to say that the civil servants are already moving forward on transformation of the health and social care system in Northern Ireland, but, yes, if the politicians were in Stormont and if we have a health minister then we could move that forward at pace".

Health Protection Scotland (HPS) said half of NHS Boards are reporting significant ward pressure as a result.

"We fully understand the upset and inconvenience this causes to patients and their families and apologise to them for it".

"Following advice from NHS England, we have taken a number of urgent steps, which include cancelling all elective operations for the next two weeks except those that are cancer related or time critical and reviewing all outpatient clinics and cancelling appointments as appropriate for a two week period".

Professor Joe Harrison, the hospital's chief executive, said, "I would urge people to avoid the hospital's emergency department unless it is a genuine emergency".

She said on the BBC Radio 4 Today Programme: 'Certainly what we have is a system that is running at absolutely full stretch across both health and social care.