In England, an eight-year peak has been reached by the number of patients facing waiting times of more than four hours in accident and emergency units.
NHS performance data stated that a rise of more than a quarter has been seen in the proportion of people facing the lengthy wait for treatment and since 2004 has reached its highest level.
From January to March, a wait of more than four hours was witnessed by 4.2 per cent of A&E patients, the King Fund’s report stated. Last year this number of people who did so was 3.4 per cent.
Its authors said that these figures are worrying and it shows that the hospital sector is facing a lot of pressure.
According to the think-tank’s quarterly monitoring report, last year the Government’s target that no more than 5 per cent of patients face more than a four-hour wait in A&E was met.
The threshold was breached by 48 NHS providers in the final quarter of 2011.
The King’s Fund said, “The rise coincides with emerging evidence of increases in 'trolley waits' as some hospitals struggle to find beds for patients.”
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