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Some non-urgent surgery is being halted at Greater Manchester hospitals as the “rising impact” of Covid-19 and staffing shortages continues to affect NHS trusts.

More than 20 English NHS trusts have declared critical incidents, according to Downing Street.

Two trusts in Bristol declared the highest level of alert earlier.

Health bosses in Greater Manchester said about 15% of their workforce were either ill with Covid or isolating.

Health minister Gillian Keegan said the government knew “this was going to be one of the most pressurised winters” for the NHS and that extra investment had been given to help the service cope.

She said declaring critical incidents was part of “our NHS contingency and resilience plans” that are “tried and

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