Waiting times in accident and emergency departments in England have fallen to their worst levels in more than a decade, with just 92.6% of patients being seen within four hours.
NHS England released records showing it has failed to meet the target of seeing 95% of patients within the time limit as the government admitted there was a “huge amount of pressure” on the health service.
British health secretary Jeremy Hunt said hospital bosses feel that they are “running just to keep still” to cope with rising demand.
He told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: “There is a huge amount of pressure, that’s absolutely clear.
“I think we also have to recognise, despite the particular pressures, despite the major incidents – and you always get some major incidents at this time of year — that the NHS is continuing to see in A&E departments nine out of 10 people within the four-hour target.
“That is actually better than any other country in the world that measures these things.”
It is a marked fall on the worst performance recorded since the current government came to power of 94.1% at the start of 2013 and is the lowest recorded over the last 10 years.
When broken down, the quarterly records show that England’s major A&E departments fared even worse, with fewer than nine in 10 patients — 88.9% — being seen within the target.
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