The last few weeks have been some of the busiest the NHS has ever seen.
The situation has been similar in Dartford which has seen a large rise in the number of people using Darent Valley Hospital’s Accident and Emergency Department.
In December 2016, the number of people using A&E at the hospital was 8993, a jump of more than 750 compared to December 2015, which saw 8242 people through its A&E.
On average, 330 people were seen daily at Darent Valley Hospital A&E in December.
Managing and treating this number of people on a daily basis is a huge task and a testament to the hard work and dedication of all the staff who work at the hospital.
Every winter the NHS faces many challenges, not least because we have an ageing population and people are living longer.
To prepare for this winter, the NHS spent money investing in more doctors and nurses as well as carrying out its largest ever flu vaccination programme. Also more GPs have been trained or recruited but we still need more.
As the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, said the House of Commons on Monday, this winter has had fewer serious incidents declared than many expected and on the whole, according to the head of the NHS Providers, the system is doing slightly better than last year.
Yet the winter is not over yet and the challenges remain. In the coming weeks the cold weather is set to worsen which will bring new issues for our health service.
A record amount of money is being spent on our NHS but more needs to be done to ensure everyone receives the treatment they need.