“That’s why we recently announced the largest single increase in doctor training places in the history of the NHS – a 25 per cent expansion.”

This week has revealed mounting pressures on the NHS.

A spokesman said: “This last week has seen high numbers of people admitted to hospital for flu, which has added extra strain at an already extremely busy time.

Dr Stephen Haig, an emergency department consultant at GWH, was one of 68 doctors to sign a joint letter to the Prime Minister.

“We have insufficient hospital and community beds and staff of all disciplines especially at the front door to cope with our population’s health needs,” they said.

GWH urged those with flu to visit the hospital only in the most urgent cases.

In their letter to the Prime Minister, Dr Haig and his 67 colleagues warned that last week’s four hour performance target was even lower: between 45 and 75 per cent.

In it, they warn of hospitals struggling to cope with demand.

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