NHS leaders are warning that the health service is facing the "brutal reality" of an Easter as bad as most winters.
Latest data shows record waits for planned surgery and in A&E, as staff plough through a backlog fuelled by Covid. The government says there is hope on the horizon.
Jean Shepherd, 87, had a stroke in April last year, leaving her severely disabled and requiring round-the-clock care.
At the end of February there was an outbreak of sickness at her nursing home and she needed hospital treatment. She had to wait in a wheelchair for more than 9 hours until an ambulance arrived to take her to A&E. She then spent 31 hours on a trolley between the emergency department and a secondary-care unit.
"She was very distressed because she doesn't like hospitals at the best of time," says her son, Andy Shepherd. "Since the stroke, because of her cognitive ability, she doesn't understand what's happening around her."
Mrs Shepherd was eventually moved to a bed in a main hospital ward, where her family says she later contracted Covid, before recovering and being discharged back to her care home two weeks later.
"I appreciate that A&E departments have always been busy, but I just wasn't prepared for what greeted me at the hospital," says her son.
"There were patients on ambulance trolleys literally everywhere and the staff were absolutely rushed off their feet. I remember thinking at the time that this is not sustainable."
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Source: BBC News, 14 April 2022