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NHS winter crisis: hospitals to delay non urgent operations

DRASTIC: NHS (Photo credit: PA)

TENS OF THOUSANDS of non-urgent NHS operations and procedures in England will be deferred until 31 January, due to winter pressures.

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

Officials have estimated the move could lead to up to 55,000 deferred operations.

NHS England's acute care director said hospitals were being given the "time and space" to manage January pressures. Officials confirmed that cancer operations and time-critical procedures should go ahead as planned.

Justin Madders, the shadow health minister, said: “Patients and staff deserve better than a Health Secretary doing a ‘Grayling’, going to ground and refusing to explain the appalling downturn in standards of care this winter.

“Instead of running scared, Jeremy Hunt must answer for his party’s sustained underfunding of our NHS which has already caused such misery right across the country. After five years in the job, he should be taking responsibility, not fleeing the scene.”

NHS England hopes that taking these measures will allow senior hospital doctors to focus on more patients in A&E, be available for phone advice for GPs and ensure that patients in hospitals are reviewed twice each day to help timely discharges.

It was also announced that sanctions for mixed sex accommodation breaches should be temporarily lifted.

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