The NHS is facing an acute shortage of beds in hospitals, with some hospitals reporting a shortage of 6,000 beds.
A shortage of bed space is expected to hit hospitals in England within days, according to the National Health Service (NHS).
The NHS says the “emergency capacity” issue is a “very serious problem” for the service.
The National Health Board has said the problem is likely to affect “several hundred” hospitals, although it has yet to say when the problem might be resolved.
The NHD has said hospitals will “not have enough bed space” by Christmas, although this could change as the NHS works through its plans for the future.
The NHS says it will be able to provide additional beds if it “is able to find suitable housing in a suitable location” and that the NHS will be “very flexible” about how many beds it needs to provide.
The shortage of hospital beds is due to an increasing demand from hospitals for people to be discharged and that “the NHS is not able to take any further patients at this time”.
The shortage is “very severe” and “unprecedented”, the NHD said.
The Government said the NHS is in a “unique position” to provide “an outstanding service” but that the problem was “very, very serious”.
“We know the NHS can only provide an outstanding service if we can manage it well and we have made the difficult decisions necessary to do that,” a spokesman for the Department of Health said.
“The NHS cannot and will not continue to take patients who have already had the necessary tests or treatment, because it is too difficult to treat them at the moment.”
“We need to ensure the NHS has enough beds to treat patients at any time, and will do everything we can to make sure that happens.”
The NHS has already begun to cut back on its hospital bed capacity.
In July, the NHS announced that it would limit the number of beds it would be able in each ward, with hospitals in London, Manchester and Cardiff to reduce their beds by half.
It has also been warned that “a shortage of specialist beds will result in a reduction in patient care” as it tries to cope with the increased demand.
“We have to do something to ensure we can provide quality care to people when they are admitted to the NHS,” the NSH said in July.
The UK’s health service is struggling to meet the demands of a rising number of people who have been admitted to hospital because of chronic conditions, such as high blood pressure or a heart condition.
The number of new patients admitted to hospitals has risen by more than 6,500% in the past five years, according the NHS.