14th April 2016
February's official figures have shown that the performance of accident and emergency (A&E) departments has fallen to a new low.
This is the second month in a row that the results have dropped, according to NHS England and reported by the BBC.
According to the NHS, hospitals should be able to see 95 per cent of patients in four hours, but only 87.8 per cent were seen in this time in February.
This target was originally set in 2004 and has been steadily decreasing every year, but the decline has been most noticeable over the past year.
Adding to this issue are other problems that are beyond the control of each hospital, for example, an A&E unit in Lancashire is due to start closing overnight as a result of difficulties with staffing.
The A&E in question is in Chorley and the difficult decision to close it was made because there simply aren't enough doctors to keep the unit staffed.
Problems with A&E shortages are a national issue and the department at Chorley says that this has been made worse because of the national cap on agency staff.
Posted by Philip Briggs
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