Hospitals will be face a crisis if a bout of flu coincides with a return to normal levels of elective procedures, says Dr Mark Holland [Image: Peter Byrne/PA].

Jeremy Hunt is certain to have known this would happen. If you put things off, they mount up until – if you’re unlucky – they become overwhelming.

Perhaps it is part of his latest bid to pretend the NHS should be replaced by private, expensive, insurance-based healthcare. He has always wanted this.

But the simple fact is that any problems will be due to decisions made by – you guessed! – Jeremy Hunt.

Whatever happens over the next few weeks, let’s be sure to put responsibility where it belongs.

The NHS is facing “potentially the worst January” ever as it struggles to deal with the backlog of patients occupying beds over Christmas, a leading doctor has warned.

Dr Mark Holland, president of the Society for Acute Medicine (SAM), said hospitals had already seen large numbers of elderly patients over the festive period and that the health service was on the brink of a major crisis.

Holland, who is based in Manchester, said hospitals were operating under a “false sense of security” as elective procedures dipped during the Christmas period with those beds becoming available for emergency patients.

Once routine operations start up regularly this week, hospitals must make these allocated beds available again. A bout of flu, the winter vomiting virus, or even a cold snap, could prove the tipping point, he warned.

He said the service was going to face the health equivalent of the “credit card bill from hell” after the festive period and called on the government to announce its contingency plans for a “possible worst-case scenario”.

Source: NHS could face its worst January as it struggles with festive backlog, warns doctor | Society | The Guardian

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