A 'CRITICAL situation' at a medical centre has meant that some GP appointments have been cancelled.

Hedge End Medical Centre has announced that due to a critical situation today, it is having to cancel some appointments. 

Medical app, eConsult has been turned off for the site in Lower Northam Road and staff have said they will be in touch with patients if they need to cancel. 

READ MORE: NHS staff speak out on Southampton General Hospital A&E pressure

A statement on social media from the centre said that this was due to sickness absence. 

A spokesperson said: "In this context it means we cannot provide a safe service without adjusting the way we work temporarily.

"Please do not contact us today unless it is truly urgent."

The news comes after staff at University Hospital Southampton spoke out last week about the overwhelming pressures they are facing due to a huge influx of patients. 

A message sent to all staff, which has been seen by the Daily Echo, said that there were "significant numbers" of patients queued on trollies and ambulances were "forced to wait" to handover patients.

Hedge End Medical Centre holds a Good rating from the Care Quality Commission following its last inspection in January 2016. 

As previously reported by the Echo, staff at the centre had complained of issues with mental health due to an "avalanche of patient demand". 

Speaking in October last year, a spokesperson said: "We have a really supportive group of patients, but they are understandably frustrated about the problems with getting a GP appointment.

"I have seen an increase in mental health problems among the staff across the team who are facing the avalanche of patient demand, and there have been days where I have been completely overwhelmed too."

South Central Ambulance recently declared a critical incident as a result of pressures on its services earlier this month. 

The ambulance service said in a statement that it continues to prioritise its response to patients with life-threatening and serious emergencies.

However, there will be delays in responding to other patients with less urgent needs who are assessed as requiring an ambulance response.

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