Waiting times at major A&E departments at worst ever level

Ambulances outside the Royal Liverpool Hospital in Liverpool in January 2018

Their warning came as Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, said the NHS had had its worst winter, and as statistics showed further deterioration in hospital performance.

Many patients also faced long delays as they were handed over from ambulance to A&E, with nearly 30,000 people waiting over an hour since the beginning of this winter. It is also the only time extremely long "trolley wait" figures have breached 1,000.

Mr Hunt added that "significantly more" money would need to be spent on the NHS to ensure services could cope with demand.

But in an interview with ITV News, he refused to apologise to under-pressure NHS staff, adding: "When they signed up to go into medicine, they knew there would be pressurised moments".

Her mother, Sharon, 53, said: "We knew that if you just have a cold, they don't want you in A&E because you could pass more germs on or could waste their time but I would..."

'I take responsibility for everything that happens in the NHS.

The "worst flu season in years", which has claimed the lives of more than 200 people, has been blamed for piling pressure on over-stretched A&E departments. Others have warned that "distressing scenes of patients in corridors on trolleys have become an all too familiar sight this winter".

"It follows the Prime Minister's freakish comment last month that cancelled operations were "part of the plan" for the NHS and that "nothing is perfect".

The figure is a slight improvement on December, when it was 85.1 per cent.

At Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, 68.9 per cent of all A&E patients were seen within four hours last month, down from 79 per cent in December.

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Almost 7000 patients were seen within four hours or less out of a total of 7,500 people who attended the Bournemouth's A&E department.

This is from figures on NHS A&E waiting times, for January 2018, which were published on the NHS website today.

81,003 patients waited for more than four hours to be seen, treated or discharged.

This comes as the reports reveal that the national average is below the 95% standard which was achieved in July 2015.

Category one calls are defined as life-threatening injuries, such as cardiac arrest.

Ruth Thorlby, assistant director of policy at the Health Foundation, said: 'Today's performance figures show that health and social care services are under sustained and intense strain this winter.

'All parts of the system need investment in order to maintain and improve the quality of care that patients need and deserve'.

Figures also showed 1,043 patients waited more than 12 hours from the "decision to admit to admission" - and some 81,000 waited four hours.

"The truth is that our hardworking NHS staff provide the best possible care in the face of unprecedented pressures and are all that stand between the current crisis and total collapse".

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