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UK hospitals expecting ‘mayhem’ when cold snap hits, top doctor says

Hospitals will be hit by “mayhem” this weekend because of the coming cold snap, a growing number of people with flu and the NHS’s staffing problems, a leading doctor has warned.

Dr Nick Scriven, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said hospitals will face “severe difficulties” this weekend as lower temperatures lead to a surge in patients needing care.

Hospitals’ ability to withstand a sudden increase in winter-related illness will also be compromised by the NHS being “horrendously understaffed”, Scriven said. Official figures show that the NHS in England has 103,000 vacancies, including for 42,000 nurses and 10,000 doctors.

Scriven’s comments came as NHS England revealed that almost 40,000 people so far this winter have had to spend at least 30 minutes with an ambulance crew because A&E units were too busy to accept them.

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