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Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt apologises for cancelled operations

LONDON Jan 4: The Health Secretary gives a "massive" thank you to "heroic" medics as staff say they are at breaking point, Sky News reported.
Jeremy Hunt has apologised to tens of thousands of patients whose operations were cancelled after hospitals reported extraordinary winter pressure.
The Health Secretary admitted to Sky News the situation was "absolutely not what I want". But he said that "reluctantly" postponing treatment to ease pressures on A&E departments was "better for people".
The comments came after Theresa May denied the health service was in "crisis", saying it was more prepared "than ever before".
On Tuesday, NHS England told hospitals to postpone non-urgent operations, leading to tens of thousands of cancellations.
After medics said they were struggling to cope with patient numbers, Mr Hunt offered a "massive" thank you for their "heroic" work and praised them "going beyond the call of duty in every possible way".
Mr Hunt explained that under similar pressure in 2016, hospitals were calling patients the night before an operation and cancelling as the scale of the crisis grew.
But this year a "planned, methodical and thoughtful" approach was being taken, he said.
Jeremy Hunt has apologised to patients after tens of thousands of non-urgent operations were postponed in England.
The Health Secretary admitted there were “real pressures” facing the health service as NHS England urged hospitals to defer routine procedures such as hip replacements until the end of January to free up hospital beds and staff, amid reports many hospitals were plunged into crisis over the festive period.
Mr Hunt said the move, which could lead to up to 55,000 routine operations being delayed, was “absolutely not what I want” but conceded that hospitals were under huge pressure from the ageing population and a spike in flu and respiratory diseases.
Meanwhile, Theresa May acknowledged the news was frustrating for affected patients but said the NHS was “better prepared for this winter than ever before”.
However, critics said the situation was putting patients at risk, with former Liberal Democrat health minister Norman Lamb warning there was “no doubt that patients will die and families will suffer” because of the pressure the NHS is under.