The worst flu season in seven years is forcing some patients to be treated with artificial lungs, MPs have been told.

A number of patients have needed the highest level of intensive care after being hospitalised with flu, the Science and Technology Select Committee heard.

Meanwhile, hospitals are admitting a "large proportion" of patients who had actually had the flu jab and a "significant" number of usually young and fit people.

The worst flu season in the last seven years, along with high rates of norovirus, have meant that 5,000 beds a day have been needed to care for people with these conditions - the equivalent of 10 acute hospitals, Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England said on Monday.

Dr Sue Crossland, president elect of the Society for Acute Medicine, told the Science and Technology Committee that some flu patients had needed ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) as part of their treatment.

An ECMO can be used when patients are in a critical condition and uses an artificial lung to oxygenate the blood outside the body.

She said: "From our point of view we have seen a lot more flu this year than last year and certainly probably more than we have seen since the outbreak in 2009.

"It seems to me that the people we are seeing, a very large proportion of them have been vaccinated this year.

"A lot of them are elderly but we are also seeing a significant proportion of young people, like we did in 2009, though not as bad.

"Patients requiring intensive care treatment tend to be the younger patients - the 20, 30, 40-year-old patients who are normally fit and well.

"And we have seen quite a few transfers out of the really strong intensive care support to ECMO - really as high as you can go on the intensive care level."