Hospital bosses in England are warning a lack of funds means they are having to scale back on plans to open extra beds to cope with winter.
The warning, from NHS Providers, which represents managers, came after the Treasury rejected pleas for an extra £1bn to cover the cost of strikes.
Recruitment to plug gaps in the workforce was also having to be put on hold, NHS Providers said.
But the government said winter planning was on track.
It pointed out the goal to open 10,000 "virtual" hospitals beds had been met. This is where doctors remotely monitor patients with conditions such as respiratory and heart problems who would otherwise have to be in hospital.
Progress was also being made on opening 5,000 new permanent hospital beds - a 5% increase in numbers, the government said.
"We recognise the challenges the NHS faces over the coming months, which is why we started preparing for winter earlier than ever," a Department of Health and Social Care spokesman added.
But NHS Providers said the steps being taken may be insufficient.
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Source: BBC News, 14 November 2023