Mr Hunt, MP for South West Surrey, told of the scale of the crisis facing the NHS, including at the Royal Surrey in Guildford.
In an update to constituents, he said: “Just spoken to Louise Stead, chief executive of the Royal Surrey, about the situation there. Even though Covid admissions are declining nationally, the situation is still critical.
“Intensive care capacity has been surged by an additional 32 beds of which 31 are occupied. Nearly all patients on ventilators.
“Other Surrey hospitals have been sending people to the Midlands and Yorkshire but the Royal Surrey has not had to do this – indeed it is taking patients from other Surrey hospitals (and had some from Kent before). However if demand continues increasing there is a risk of urgent cancer surgery having to be delayed.”
The hospital boss told Mr Hunt, who chairs the Commons health and social care committee, that the majority of patients in intensive care were in their 50s and 60s, who might not be able to work from home, so getting this age group vaccinated was crucial.
As a vaccine hub, nearly all staff at the Royal Surrey had had the first dose of one of the Covid jabs and staff absence at the hospital is currently just 3.8 per cent.
However, Mr Hunt added: “Staff are completely exhausted with the triple challenge of looking after Covid patients, other urgent care and the vaccination programme.
“So the overall message is they are doing a magnificent job keeping their head above water – just – in the most testing of circumstances. But we need to do all we can to help them by staying at home unless absolutely necessary to leave.”