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UK hospitals will face mayhem this weekend when cold hits

Staff Writer |
NHS hospitals will face “mayhem” this weekend as the cold snap sets in and adds further stress to stretched health services, a senior doctor has warned.

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Dr Nick Scriven, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said hospitals saw “fits and spells of manic activity” last week with the number of cases of viral chest illness growing.

The outlook over the next few days was “ominous” as hospitals face “severe difficulties” with colder temperatures now setting in, he said.

“Influenza is here and is already impacting the NHS and, with colder weather starting to set in, this will further stress already stretched services.”

Official figures from the week ending 23 December highlighted the shortfall in vaccinations, with only 43.4 per cent of those at risk under the age of 65 having had the vaccine.

Dr Scriven said: “I and many colleagues across the country are anticipating mayhem this weekend as temperatures drop – but it will come as no surprise to us. There was a sense before Christmas that government and NHS leaders believed all was well despite only marginal performance differences to the crisis of 12 months ago.

“My feeling is that this was more out of hope than judgement and, sadly, the issues we have predicted for some time will soon take hold. Within the last week I have had colleagues warning of emergency departments and intensive care units being full and that will only worsen in the coming weeks.”

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