14 February 2013
A&E waiting times in England have reached their highest level for a decade, a report suggests.
A review by think tank the King's Fund found between October and December 2012 more than 232,000 patients waited more than four hours – a 21 per cent rise on the same period in 2011 and the highest figure since 2003.
However, the number is still within the government's target, the BBC reported, which requires A&E units to see 95 per cent of patients within four hours. 232,000 people represents 4.3 per cent of patients.
The health research also found evidence of patients being left on trolleys for long periods of time, despite needing to be admitted to a ward.
Yet waits for non-emergency hospital operations were to be holding steady, with infection rates falling.
Study author Professor John Appleby told the BBC: "The NHS faces unprecedented pressures and there are growing worries that patient care will suffer."
Posted by Jeanette Royston
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