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  1. ITV Report

A&Es across the country are operating at full capacity, medics warn

Leading medics have warned that every emergency department in the country is struggling to cope with winter pressures with some operating at almost full capacity.

At the A&E at Milton Keynes University Hospital, there isn't a spare bed anywhere.

This hospital has called in extra staff and opened up extra wards but the chief executive is still worried about what the future may bring.

Milton Keynes University Hospital chief executive, Professor Joe Harrison. Credit: ITV News

Professor Joe Harrison said: "We are concerned about further future sustained pressure, not just here at Milton Keynes but across the country. We're seeing flu cases coming in, we're seeing significant numbers of elderly patients who are very sick."

Other Trusts in Bristol, Essex and Chester are in a similar position and have advised patients not to visit A&E unless in absolute emergency.

A number of other hospitals in Cornwall, Devon, Leicester and Kent have declared that they are Operational Pressures Escalation Level 4 (OPEL4) which means pressure in the system continues to escalate which "increases the potential for patient care and safety to be compromised".

The Royal College of Emergency Medicine has warned that longer waiting at A&E departments puts patients in danger. Credit: ITV News

Portsmouth's Queen Alexandra Hospital has had its busiest weekend in history and has appealed for staff to come in.

"The longer you wait in the A&E department, the more chance you have of a poor outcome," said Dr Chris Moulton of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine.

"So yes, it is putting patients in danger. Not perhaps immediately and not perhaps everyone but people are definitely suffering by waiting."