Hospitals were shut this week amid fears that the NHS could soon run out of healthcare.
Ministers were blamed for causing panic as patients queued for hours at doctors’ surgeries and hospitals warned that supplies of care could dry up at any minute.
The crisis escalated after government claims that doctors were “not entirely happy” were seized upon by journalists, who predicted a full scale strike before Easter.
Ethel Twee, 86, said: “I saw a lot of people at the local hospital and decided to join the queue just in case. As it happened, I had a bad fall and got a hip replacement the same day. I feel sorry for the other people who turned out but never got to see a surgeon. I was one of the lucky ones.”
Ministerial sources said that irresponsible actions by ambulance drivers trying to refuel their vehicles meant that questions about the dinners for donors affair would have to wait “until a lot later”.
“The imminent crisis in fuel supplies makes it difficult to comment on anything at all,” said a spokesman, adding that “it could be awesome for your business if you buy me a pint and a Cornish pastie”, though he warned that the latter would attract VAT in future unless it was allowed to cool before serving.
The government attracted media criticism for suggesting that patients worried about seeing a doctor in the next few weeks should “top up their medication”. A minister proposed that patients could keep emergency blood supplies or vital organs in a jerry can in the garage.
A representative of the fire brigades union complained that this advice was irresponsible, particularly during a spell of hot weather.
Nobody sensible was available for comment.