A south London hospital has announced that it is “no longer in a critical incident” due to bed shortages but is still under “extreme pressure”.

Yesterday (January 5), St George’s Hospital in Tooting declared that it was in “a critical incident” and that “urgent action” was required.

The BBC reported that in a letter sent to staff, chief operating officer Tara Argent claimed that the hospital needed to discharge patients.

She reportedly urged staff to help identify people who could be sent home or into alternative care.

While the critical incident is over according to a Trust spokesperson, the hospital has said that it is still under “extreme pressure” and is “very busy”.

Due these strains, St George’s Hospital in Tooting says it is “not always able to provide the level of care it would like” and apologised for this.

A statement released from St Georges NHS Trust reads: “Our emergency departments (EDs) and hospitals are under extreme pressure right now – and we expect them to continue to be very busy over the coming months.

“We absolutely don’t want our patients to be waiting for long periods of time and our teams are working hard to ensure people coming to ED are seen as quickly as possible.

“But right now – like all parts of the NHS – we are not always able to provide the level of care we would like, and we are very sorry this is the case.

“There are things we are doing to try to ease pressures – such as deploying trained staff from non-patient facing roles, supporting elderly and frail people in their homes to avoid ED admissions, introducing a “hospital at home” and remote monitoring service, opening additional beds up on wards, and freeing up beds by working to discharge people as soon as they are medically fit.

“We are also prioritising patients who are most in need of clinical care, which means those who are the sickest or most seriously injured will be seen more quickly.”

St George’s Hospital advises that you should continue to come forward for the care you need and if it’s an emergency or life-threatening to dial 999 or go to an emergency department as normal.

However, it also highlights that “emergency departments aren’t always the most appropriate place for people who need medical attention” and that patients may be directed to an alternative direct such as pharmacy, GP, or urgent treatment centre to free up space for those who most need it.

The Labour MP for Tooting told Sky News on Wednesday: “What I’m seeing is what my colleagues are echoing around the country, is that they feel, unfortunately, that this is the worst they have ever seen the NHS for patients and for staff.

“We are now at the point where staff feel they cannot provide safe and dignified care and we now know that up to 500 people per week are going to die because they cannot receive the emergency care that they desperately need.”

Asked what it comes down to, she said: “We have had 12 years of political choices that have resulted in us already having an under-resourced NHS with no slack in the system.

“Now we have a situation where people are having intimate examinations in cupboards, patients are waiting up to 99 hours in an ambulance in an A&E bay, unable to get a bed inside a hospital.

“We’re having children sleeping on plastic chairs, patients lying on the floors, being examined on floors with sheets held up by nurses.”

NHS England national medical director, Professor Sir Stephen Powis, said the health service was enduring “extreme pressure this winter”.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme the cold snap, Covid and flu had “piled the pressure on to already extremely stretched NHS services”.

He said NHS England was relying on the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to unpick excess deaths after the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) said between 300 and 500 people were dying every week as a result of delays to emergency care.