Epsom and St Helier hospitals are rescheduling patient operations and procedures because of ‘sustained and unprecedented pressure’ on its services.

It comes as Prime Minister Theresa May apologised yesterday (January 4) for delays to operations and hospital admissions over the winter months.

Now the trust has admitted further steps have been taken.

Chief executive Daniel Elkeles said: “We can confirm that, following a period of sustained and unprecedented pressure on our services, and in line with guidance from NHS England, we have taken the difficult decision to reschedule some non-emergency procedures.

“We recognise that this may be disruptive for a number of our patients, and I would like to apologise for any inconvenience this has caused.

“However, I would like to reassure our patients that the vast majority of non-emergency procedures will go ahead as usual – on an average weekday we see 170 patients for this type of admission, and 140 will continue to be admitted each day.

“This isn’t a step we have taken lightly, but by doing so, we give ourselves more time and space to care for patients who are in a critical condition, and who need emergency care."

The hospital trust recently urged people to only visit its A&E departments in ‘genuine emergencies’ as its departments are currently ‘extremely busy’.

An Epsom and St Helier spokeswoman confirmed that more than 30 elective, non-emergency procedures have been cancelled in one day alone already, however 140 have also taken place and this does not include emergency procedures such as heart operations.

Siobhain McDonagh MP, Labour member for Mitcham and Morden, said in a tweet: “.@epsom_sthelier cancelling 30 operations EVERY day between now & end of January! #NHSCrisis is a personal crisis for 100’s [sic] of people.”

Mr Elkeles added: “This is a particular priority at the moment, as we are seeing a high number of very sick patients. More than 500 people are attending our A&E departments every day, and there has been a significant increase in the number of critically unwell patients we are seeing – in fact, there has been a 20 percent increase in the number of people who need to be admitted to the resuscitation area of our A&E departments, where the very sickest patients need treatment.

“In addition, approximately 100 people per day are being admitted to hospital as emergency inpatients.

“This is a significant surge in demand, and I would like to thank our patients for their understanding during this time. I would also like to take this opportunity to publicly thank our staff, who are working extraordinarily hard in challenging circumstances.”

Mrs May visited Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey following the release of new figures on January 4 that show delays in ambulances delivering patients to A&E departments in England have reached their highest level of the winter.

She said: “I know it's difficult, I know it's frustrating, I know it's disappointing for people, and I apologise."