Dozens of hospitals have been forced to close their wards - following the recent outbreak of the contagious Norovirus.
In Staffordshire, four wards have been closed to new patients after an outbreak at the countys biggest hospital.
The restrictions mean up to 80 beds at the 1,100-bed University Hospital of North Staffordshire are out of action and unable to take emergency cases from its overstretched A&E unit.
The outbreak is the second in a matter of weeks at the hospital, where 38 patients and 14 staff have been affected.
And in Plymouth, three wards have been closed after the bug struck Derriford Hospital.
As cases of the norovirus soar across the UK, fresh guidance is issued by clinicians on how to treat the symptoms.
The number of confirmed cases of the winter vomiting bug, norovirus, is 72% higher than at this time last year, health experts have said.