Several hospitals across England have declared 'major incidents' this week, but what does that mean and what cases them?
A major incident is usually declared after a big industrial or traffic accident or emergency, or a severe regional flu outbreak and usually happens in the winter when hospitals are already under strain.
Declaring a major incident allows hospital bosses to to call in extra staff and get staff to work more overtime.
However the main impact for patients is that a major incident allows a hospital to close its doors to all but the most acute cases.
In some extreme situations a hospital can close its A&E department completely - effectively closing the hospital, but this is rare.
More usually routine scheduled operations will be cancelled to free up beds and staff to deal with the influx of patients.
Different Hospital Trusts will have different criteria for declaring a major incident and may have different plans to deal with a surge in demand.
Ed Miliband wants former nursing staff to be drafted in as part of a new five-point plan to ease the burden on accident and emergency.
Hospitals are saying there simply are not enough beds and trained medical staff for sick patients who need to be admitted.
With A&E waiting times slumping to their worst in 10 years, did your hospital make it on to the worst 10 list?