The crisis engulfing the NHS system is so severe that many hospitals are completely running out of beds and being forced to treat adult patients on wards usually reserved for children.
This is just the latest example of the unprecedented demand for care caused by what could be considered a growing winter crisis.
Numerous hospitals across the healthcare system have resorted to this emergency measure, with reports flooding in from all over the country of such efforts.
For example, Croydon University hospital in south London has moved the people it normally cares for into extra beds that it has been forced to open up on one of its children’s wards.
This switch was originally made temporarily owing to organisational challenges, but with no sign of the winter crisis diminishing, this emergency measure has continued into a second week.
Hospitals continue to experience difficulty in finding enough beds for patients who are so sick that they need to be admitted for treatment.
Jeremy Hunt has already made a Commons statement on the current state of the NHS, suggesting that measures introduced by the government will address the problem.
But many are sceptical that Hunt even understands the scope of difficulties faced by the healthcare system, let alone possesses the solutions to these conundrums.
However, Hunt has rejected the British Red Cross’ description of a humanitarian crisis in emergency NHS care, arguing that most hospitals are coping better this winter than they did last year.
Based on both statistical data and anecdotal evidence, though, it seems extremely difficult to make this assertion with any credibility.
Commenting on the situation, a spokesman for Croydon University hospital indicated that children and adults had not been treated on the same ward as a result of the emergency measures taken.
“Like all hospitals, we are currently extremely busy. We have opened extra surgical beds on one of our children’s wards to care for our younger patients. This has allowed us to temporarily switch what would routinely be used as a children’s surgical ward to treat only adult patients before and after their operations.”
But there will undoubtedly be massive concern that the NHS system is effectively grinding to a halt, with numerous hospitals within the healthcare system facing vast numbers of A&E attendees.