Health secretary apologises as thousands of non-urgent operations postponed


NHS crisis

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt today apologised to patients affected by a decision to postpone thousands of operations in January.

Non-urgent treatments had already been cancelled until mid-January, but NHS England said yesterday that would now be extended to the end of the month. It came after hospitals reported they were struggling to cope with the surge in patients since Christmas.

Hunt admitted there were “real pressures” facing the health service as NHS England urged hospitals to defer routine procedures such as hip replacements until the end of January to free up hospital beds and staff.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Theresa May acknowledged the news was frustrating for affected patients but said the NHS was “better prepared for this winter than ever before”.