Whipps Cross Hospital has cancelled a number of non-urgent outpatient appointments due to “sustained pressure” over the Christmas period.

The Leytonstone hospital announced on Wednesday (December 3) it was carrying out the measure due to the heightened demand for care during the winter months.

The move follows recommendations by the NHS’s National Emergency Pressures Panel (NEPP) for hospitals to defer all planned non-urgent procedures during January due to strains caused by urgent cases.

Whipps did not confirm how many patients could be affected by the emergency measures, but said all those who have had appointments cancelled would be contacted directly.

The hospital’s managing director, Alan Gurney, said: “We are extremely busy at Whipps Cross and our staff are working incredibly hard to make sure patients get high quality care.

“Patients who are affected will be contacted directly, and I am very sorry for the inconvenience caused to them.

“We are making every effort to ensure that as many planned procedures and appointments as possible take place, and all cancer operations and time-critical procedures will go ahead as planned.

“Patients with any appointments or planned operations should attend our hospital as normal unless they are contacted by us.”

The hospital has also advised patients suffering from coughs, colds and other minor ailments to visit pharmacies or call the free NHS 111 number for advice rather than visit A&E.