Commenting on the current pressures being faced by hospitals across the country, Dr Nick Scriven, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said:
“The position at the moment is as bad as I’ve ever known.
“Pre-Christmas 43 trusts were more than 98% full despite 3,000 extra beds in use – I expect this to be at least doubled, maybe trebled today.
“We are starting to report Australasian flu is beginning to appear which is worrying – we are seeing a lot of flu like symptoms but as yet do not know if it is ‘normal’ or the Australasian strain.
“Big issues are currently nurse staffing levels with extra beds being opened around hospitals to cope with winter surge and not enough nurses to go round.
“This is same for doctors and therapists and diagnostic facilities in hopsitals will be swamped – a vicious circle of increased need causing longer delays in whole system.”