v2web-nhs-1-gettyThere are grave doubts over the NHS’ capacity to cope with ever-growing demand this winter after emergency departments recorded their worst week in a decade, and more than a dozen hospitals were forced to implement “major incident” emergency plans. Despite mild weather and without a serious outbreak of seasonal illness, this week at least 15 hospitals in England have had to cancel operations, call in extra staff or limit A&E services to only severely ill or injured patients.  The Government has blamed the drastic decline in hospital performance on growing numbers of frail, older patients, but charities supporting the elderly, including Age UK and Independent Age, said that cuts to council care budgets were now having a knock-on effect upon the NHS. More