NHS bosses warn 'perfect storm' of freezing weather

NHS bosses have warned a 'perfect storm' of -16°C blizzards, norovirus and flu is piling pressure on over-stretched hospitals.

Performance statistics show sub-zero temperatures, icy blasts and blizzard-like conditions hit A&E departments across the country hard last week.

Bed occupancies remain worryingly high and show no sign of falling to safe levels amid the 'worst winter ever', with more cold weather expected.

Storm Emma, rolling in from the Atlantic, is meeting the Beast from the East's chilly Russia air - causing further widespread snowfall and bitter temperatures.

Dr Nick Scriven, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said the severe weather is an added burden on top of the recent 'usual' winter.

An abandoned vehicle is surrounded by several feet of snow in Saddleworth, Greater Manchester, this morning

An abandoned vehicle is surrounded by several feet of snow in Saddleworth, Greater Manchester, this morning

He warned dozens of hospitals are likely to be forced to cancel routine procedures, while the NHS said children, the elderly and those with chronic illnesses are at risk of the cold weather. 

Dr Scriven added: 'Today and the next few days will particularly stretch trusts, with staff struggling to get to work and ambulance trusts having immense problems getting patients to and from hospital.

'A lot of hospitals will cancel routine work over the next few days as a consequence of both of these. 

'Overall NHS staff are pulling together and making immense efforts to keep people our hospitals safe.'

It comes as the National Grid has warned it may not have enough gas to meet demand in Britain today, after the mercury fell as low as -16C (3F) last night.

While the treacherous conditions left drivers stranded for more than 13 hours and airport passengers stuck.

Two police officers become stuck in a snow drift on the A904 just outside Bo'ness in West Lothian this morning

Two police officers become stuck in a snow drift on the A904 just outside Bo'ness in West Lothian this morning

Commuters are battered by snow in Edinburgh today as the Scottish capital faces a red Met Office weather warning

Commuters are battered by snow in Edinburgh today as the Scottish capital faces a red Met Office weather warning

The Met Office has put England under a red weather warning for snow for the first time ever, amid concerns that up

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