Patients are being forced to sleep on the floor at a hospital in West Yorkshire as the NHS winter crisis threatens to stretch Britain's health service to breaking point.

Tracy Brabin, the MP for Batley & Spen and Labour shadow education minister, has released two photographs of patients bedding down on the floor at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield.

She said the "shocking" pictures taken "over the Christmas period" were evidence that the surge for demand for NHS services is worse this year than last year.

The pictures come after health secretary Jeremy Hunt was forced to apologise to patients in England who were told earlier this week that around 50,000 non-urgent operations would be suspended until the end of the month.

Around 17 hospital trusts - one in 10 - have declared a major incident due to a surge in demand since Christmas due to a spike in winter flu and staff shortages.

Trust bosses said patients are being forced to wait for up to 12 hours in A&E, while some have been left on trolleys in corridors because beds were not available.

Brabin told The Huddersfield Daily Examiner: "I have been inundated with constituents telling me their difficulties of being treated over the festive period. With one stroke victim waiting over three hours for an ambulance it is understandable how clinicians are calling this the worst crisis they have ever seen."

David Melia, director of nursing at The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust which runs Pinderfields, said: "On Tuesday, January 2, we, like the rest of the country, experienced unprecedented demand on our emergency departments. Our staff worked tirelessly throughout the whole Christmas and New Year period to ensure our patients were safely treated in as timely a manner as possible."

He said that the Trust had received no complaints on behalf of the two patients on the floor, adding that they "may have chosen to lie down as seats were provided".

Hunt said earlier this week that operation cancellations was "absolutely not what I want".

But he added: "There are real pressures, no question about it. This is the busiest week of the year for the NHS. "If you are someone whose operation has been delayed I don't belittle that for one moment - and indeed I apologise to everyone who that has happened to."

Prime Minister Theresa May this week rejected claims that the NHS is in "crisis" saying the health service is better prepared "than ever before".