Dozens of operations are set to be cancelled in Burnley due to "a surge in demand" over Christmas and the New Year.
Bosses at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust revealed that plans have been made to cancel elective procedures, many of which were due to be carried out at Burnley General Teaching Hospital, and also called on the public only to attend accident and emergency if absolutely necessary.
The news comes as the NHS across the country responds to a seasonal crisis with patients said to be at risk in overcrowded hospitals, due to a deluge of patients.
Burnley MP Julie Cooper slammed the move as "shocking" and said it represented a "new low for the NHS under the Tories."
Tony McDonald, deputy director of Operations at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “As with the majority of other hospitals nationwide, our Emergency Care Department has been experiencing a surge in demand over the Christmas and New Year period.
“East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust has spent a number of weeks preparing our services in the run up to winter. Working together with our partners across the whole health economy, we are managing to maintain reasonable patient flow through our hospitals.
“In line with NHS England and NHS Improvement’s guidance we are implementing an ‘elective pacing’ programme. This means we are prioritising clinically urgent cases which will go ahead, but some non-urgent surgery will be postponed.
“Patients will be notified if their procedure is affected and we therefore ask them to attend their appointments unless advised otherwise. We recognise that there will be upset and inconvenience caused to patients and their families, and we really appreciate their patience and understanding during this difficult time.
“We also thank members of the public for their continued support and continue to request they only attend A&E if absolutely necessary. Patients should think about visiting their local Pharmacy, GP or calling 111 before attending A and E or one of our Urgent Care Centres.”
Mrs Cooper said a Labour government would create more funding and staffing for the NHS, principally by taxing higher earners.
The MP said: "This latest crisis, which has led to cancelling operations this month, is a new low for the NHS under the Tories. It is down to a refusal to adequately resource the NHS.
"We have a shortage of beds, and compared to other western European nations we are near the bottom of the league per head of population. I have been in our local hospitals recently and seen elderly and vulnerable people waiting on trolleys.
"It is not acceptable. I have also had constituents coming to see me in recent months saying they have had appointments cancelled. Staff morale is at an all-time low and I truly feel sorry for these dedicated professionals who really care and are doing a tremendous job in difficult circumstances."
Mrs Cooper also said that a planned Sustainability and Transformation Partnership for Lancashire and South Cumbria would see the area having to save £534m. - a move she believes will cause even more pressures in the future.