They spoke after 300,000 non-urgent operations were axed amid “severe winter pressures”.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “There are real pressures, no question about it. This is the busiest week of the year for the NHS.”
But PM Theresa May added: “The NHS has been better prepared for this winter than ever before, we have put extra funding in.
“There are more beds available across the system, we’ve reduced the number of delayed discharges of elderly people who would otherwise have been in NHS beds rather than in social care.”
Professor Keith Willett, director for acute care at NHS England, said it was “not ideal” for patients yet also insisted it was not a crisis.
ROYAL PHARMACEUTICAL SOCIETYMIXED MESSAGES: Senior officials and cabinet members seem unclear on the state of the NHS
“Like everyone else, we have been practicing corridor medicine on a brutal shift today.”Dr Anu Mitra, a consultant at London’s Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust
But Dr Anu Mitra, a consultant at London’s Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “Like everyone else, we have been practicing corridor medicine on a brutal shift today.
“This is battlefield medicine. For next few weeks it will not be exception but the norm.”
Doctor Chris Turner, wrote: “It’s 4am and I’ve been lying awake for the last hour worrying about how we manage the department when my shift starts in 12 hours’ time.”
An 80-year-old dementia sufferer was left on a trolley in the Royal Stoke Hospital for 36 hours, despite having pneumonia.
Dr Gareth Davies claimed that the hospital was “on its knees”.