Sixty-six out of 152 trusts declared a major alert status as mounting bed shortages and large numbers of patients are leading to long trolley waits and delays in A&E.
The number of major alerts, which used to be known as red and black alerts, is at the highest ever recorded with no end in sight with just under half of all hospital declaring an incident.
In total, 25 NHS Trusts declared major alerts every day between January 3rd and 8th.
The eight trusts that issued a OPEL 4 (the highest alert status) are; University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, North Bristol NHS Trust, Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust, Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, Aintree University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, University Hospitals Of Leicester NHS Trust, University Hospitals Of North Midlands NHS Trust and Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust.
Performance against the governments four-hour target appears to have sunk to its lowest level since it was first introduced in 2004.
Hospitals have started calling in extra staff, cancelling routine appointments and diverting ambulances away from their hospital (this happened at 39 A&E departments).
Dr Chris Moulton, of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, said: “It was an incredibly hard week in a very difficult winter. It is probably the most challenging it has been for 15 years. All hospitals are experiencing difficulties – and the same is true in Wales and Northern Ireland and, to a lesser extent, Scotland.“