When emergency services are at breaking point it is a sign the rest of the health service is in danger.

At the moment the situation could not be more urgent or critical. The Mirror has found that more than half of England’s A&E departments fail to meet minimum standards.

And there are fears the situation will only worsen as the NHS braces itself for yet another winter crisis. Patients are dying because they cannot get the treatment they need in time.

At one time 12-hour delays at A&E were regarded as “never events”. In too many hospitals this is now the norm.

The dire state of emergency care is no reflection on NHS staff who are striving to provide the best possible care in the most challenging of circumstances. It is the consequence of years of underfunding and this Government’s failure to provide more beds, more staff, and fix the crisis in social care. When Labour left office, the NHS was the envy of the world. Its decline under the Tories is a national disgrace.

Shoppers stung

When the country is in the grip of a cost of living crisis you would have hoped that manufacturers would do everything in their power to keep prices down. Instead, multinational food firms have stung shoppers by repeatedly hiking their prices. In some cases the price of well-known brands soared by as much as 25% even though there has only been a marginal increase in costs.

This “greedflation” has hit customers twice over. Not only are they paying more for their daily shop, the increases have also driven up inflation. The food giants must learn the difference between making a profit and profiteering.

Bea’s new life

Bea Adamson-Archbold has been given the best Christmas present any child could have: the gift of life. The two-year-old’s world has been transformed thanks to a heart transplant. Her story is a reminder of why the Mirror campaigned so hard to change the law on organ donation.