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NHS England Medical Director Sir Bruce Keogh today admitted the service is "creaking and under the pressure".
It comes in the wake of South Gloucestershire declaring a major incident on Monday due to 51 patients needing beds at Cheltenham General Hospital and Gloucestershire Royal Hospital.
Sir Bruce said A&E departments are seeing increasing numbers of patients and that ambulance services in parts of the country are also coming under strain.
ITV News' Rebecca Barry reports.
Demand for Accident & Emergency services has already increased by 25% in some areas as the NHS prepares for the annual winter surge in patient numbers.
NHS England chief medical director Sir Bruce Keogh stressed that high expectations from the public and budget cutbacks were also making it more difficult for the system to succeed.
ITV News Political Correspondent Emily Morgan reports:
The Chief Executive of NHS Wales has warned that there is a risk more operations will be cancelled this winter - as the service works to meet demand.
In an interview with ITV Wales, Dr Andrew Goodall said patients who have their operations cancelled should try and understand that this is done 'for the right reasons at that time'.
Accident & Emergency services are already under strain from increased winter demand, the medical director of NHS England has admitted.
"A&Es are having to address increasing demand, the ambulance services are struggling in many parts of the country and we have a number of issues to deal with, which we are tackling," Sir Bruce Keogh said.
Sir Bruce said forward planning meant the NHS should cope better with a spike in demand for Accident & Emergency services this winter.
"We've started to address winter much sooner than in any of the other years," he added.
The chief executive of NHS Wales has warned that high demand on the Welsh NHS during winter can adversely affect services.
Emergency and urgent care services will inevitably experience high levels of demand during the winter months, which can make it difficult for NHS Wales services to deliver all services at all times.
I’m urging the people of Wales to choose well this winter and to only call 999 or attend A&E in a genuine emergency.
The Chief Executive for the NHS in Wales is to outline how health boards planning for winter pressures.Read the full story ›
NHS England's medical director Sir Bruce Keogh has told an audience at The King's Fund that Accident & Emergency departments "are not all equal."
BK: "A&Es are not all equal. People with serious conditions need care from places with staff and facilities to treat them." #kfurgent