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NHS crisis: A&E waits spiral to worst ever level AGAIN

NHS crisis: A&E waits spiral to worst ever level AGAIN as cancer treatment targets are missed for 37th month running, damning statistics show

A&E waiting times have hit a new all-time low as the NHS today posted its worst ever figures for the second month in a row.

Only 84.2 per cent of patients were seen within the NHS’s four-hour waiting limit in February – a further drop from the lowest ever 84.4 per cent in January.

The falling figure comes in the same week as the health service announced plans it could use to replace the four-hour benchmark it has failed to meet since 2015. 

Other damning statistics today showed the waiting list for treatment has risen to 4.16million people and more than one in six cancer patients are waiting more than two months to start their treatment. 

The NHS has, for the second time in 2019, broken the record for seeing the fewest A&E patients within its own four-hour time limit, today’s figures reveal (stock image)

A reduced proportion of people being seen within four hours at A&E means more than 15 per cent of patients – more than 70,000 people – waited longer in February.

Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, Jonathan Ashworth said: ‘For hospitals to report the worst ever A&E four-hour waits in the same week NHS England announced plans to abandon the target exposes the reality of nine years of austerity, understaffing and mismanagement of our NHS.

‘Today’s statistics will do little to allay frontline concerns that targets will be changed not on the basis of clinical consensus, but because of political pressure from Tory ministers.

‘It’s especially shameful that we have also seen the worst performance on record for patients to be seen for cancer treatment within two months.

‘Behind each of these statistics is a patient waiting longer in pain and anguish.’