In the last few days it has been astonishing the amount of press coverage on the NHS and it difficult choices it faces. Here are some of the big stories profiled in the national media.

A&E crisis exposed: the real pressures facing the NHS and the valiant doctors and nurses trying to keep it on track could start with the money the struggles over scarce resources, the debates over how many more billions will be needed as the population ages. The little girl, horizontal in a wheelchair, breath mask clamped to her face, being wheeled out by her father. At this and other daily bed meetings, the senior nurses and managers get together to work out who is in the hospital, and where they need to go next.

• NHS faces ‘Armageddon’ scenario as hospitals run out of beds • Frail and elderly pack A&E as GP surgeries struggle to cope • Half-forgotten patients stocked up in “Tardis” overflow rooms • Despite challenges NHS still ranks best for quality and efficiency. Read More: The Telegraph

Cancer victims face postcode lottery for National Health Service care

Cancer victims face postcode lottery for National Health Service care – Mirror Online Thousands of cancer patients are dying needlessly every year because of an unacceptable postcode lottery of care, MPs warn. A damning National Audit Office report warns almost 20,000 deaths a year could be avoided if patients from deprived areas fared as well as the richest in society. Elderly cancer patients are also suffering from outcomes in particular. National Audit Report highlights gap between rich and poor which could prevent 20,000 deaths per year

NHS emergency services: Sheer wait of numbers | The Economist New Year has brought with it talk of a crisis in Britain’s hospitals. NHS England released figures this week for accident and emergency (A&E) departments’ performance over the “festive period”, the weeks immediately before and after Christmas. The national A&E waiting-time target is that no less than 95% of admissions are treated, admitted to hospital or transferred within four hours. Over the past few weeks that target was missed by half of the NHS trusts in England. Over a dozen hospitals have now declared “major incidents” or are implementing emergency plans.

The national target disguises variations between different types of A&E facility (see chart 1). Those dealing with minor injuries and less urgent demands routinely have less than 1% of their patients waiting more than four hours: that has generally helped to keep the national average within the target. Major A&E departments, which deal with any case that comes their way, severe or otherwise, have a much poorer record. The hospital A&E admissions average has been missing the 95% target for more than a year.

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