Her statement to MSPs came as the latest weekly figures showed patients waiting more than four hours in A&E reached record levels during the last week of 2017.
"An average of 10 to 12 hours from decision to admit a patient until they are transferred to a bed..." states the petition.
Questions have been asked in recent days about low flu immunisation uptake rates for NHS staff, with HPS again urging everyone who is eligible for vaccination to do so.
One quarter of all patients had to wait for over four hours to get a bed in the emergency last month says the survey on performance of the A&E departments.
"That is an 80-year-old man with underlying health conditions waiting more than 16 hours for treatment".
Last December the Vic saw 61 per cent of A&E patients within the target, a better result even though the total number of people turning up was 6,902 compared to this year's 6,028.
More than 1,500 patients had to wait longer than four hours for attention last month, out of the 18,368 that attended - nearly 600 a day.
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Ambulances have been filmed queueing outside an hospital in Chelmsford, reportedly containing patients who are waiting for beds to become free.
According to NHS outlines, 85% of patients should be treated within this time.
Liberal Democrat leader Mr Rennie said: "The pressure faced by the NHS has been coming for years, it was largely predictable".
"Our primary concern during this period was the safety of patients and the compassion and commitment of staff ensured that the level of patient care remained high through these challenging times". I am not standing here saying...that some patients are not waiting longer during these winter times than we would want them to wait.
The consultants and heads in charge of the emergency departments of 68 acute hospitals wrote a letter to Prime Minister May stating the current state of the hospitals.
The consultants spell out a series of problems which are now impacting the NHS, including: thousands of patients waiting in ambulances for hours; more than 120 patients a day managed in corridors, with some dying prematurely; an average wait of 10 to 12 hours for a bed; and more than 50 patients at a time waiting for beds in emergency departments.
The number doubled the prior figure of 24 deaths this winter, upping the total to 48.
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The consultants' letter, leaked to the Health Service Journal, acknowledged the best efforts of staff, trusts and clinical commissioning groups.
She added: "Nevertheless, Scotland's NHS remains the best-performing NHS anywhere in the United Kingdom".
"We are tenth outside all in ambulances containing patients now waiting to be admitted to the hospital", Ms Butler-Smith wrote on, as they waited in the queue.
"Some of our own personal experiences range from over 120 patients a day managed in corridors, some dying prematurely".
A spokesman for The Save Weston A&E Campaign, which has been pushing for A&E to reopen overnight, said: "We feel deeply sorry for Mrs Thomas and her family and wish her a quick and full recovery, but we are also well aware of the very hard conditions under which dedicated NHS staff at Weston General are having to work".
"The NHS today has launched their national flu programme and I would encourage people to act on the advice that the NHS is giving and also encourage NHS staff who haven't had the flu vaccine yet to have that vaccine".
A spokesman added: "It further demonstrates why it has been necessary to cancel patients" non-urgent procedures until the end of January.
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He said: "While we've still got a couple of months of winter left, this week's statistics provide further evidence that the vaccine is a good match against the current most common strains".
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