NHS bosses have admitted Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich has had to treat patients in corridors because of the pressure the health system is under.

Stretched services, staffing issues and a lack of bed space puts strain on the NHS over the tricky winter period, councillors were told last night.

Ben Travis, the chief executive of Greenwich and Lewisham NHS Trust, said Queen Elizabeth was performing better than previous years, but it has had patients lining corridors.

“The system is unbelievably pressurised and challenged. Occasionally, and unfortunately, we are having to have patients treated in the corridors,” the chief executive said.

MORE - Hospital in Woolwich treats A&E patients in corridors

“This is not something we think is acceptable, but because of the pressure we have on beds, we have to do that.

“We have robust processes in place, and on those occasions whilst peoples dignity might not where we want it to be, we have checks in place to make sure those patients are ok.”

A lack of bed space can “clog up” the system, councillors were told, pushing waiting times beyond the national expectations.

Hospitals are given a government target of seeing 95 per cent of A&E patients within four hours – a goal Queen Elizabeth says is unachievable by most.

Instead, bosses in Woolwich are aiming to have 85 per cent of patients seen within that time, a more realistic target that is just about being hit.

“The reality is there are very few hitting 95 per cent,” Mr Travis said. “What we are hoping to do is deliver 85 per cent, which is an improvement on what we did last year. That will require significant challenges.

“It’s a very challenged system, we are working very hard to make it function the best we can. We are just about keeping our head above water.

“The biggest thing is about flow, we do a lot of work within our wards to make sure our processes are right.”

Space has been a major issue for the hospital, with every bed occupied near enough every night.

The hospital opened a new facility in November, bringing essential bed space that was not available during a hectic 2017 winter.

“We are very grateful for this extra space,” Mr Travis said. “If we didn’t have this space we would have run into severe difficulties.

“This was a £17m investment into the site, which has been much, much needed.

“It’s brought additional beds to allow us to provide the best care we can.”