A&E waiting times across England are the worst since records began, with 92.6% of patients seen within four hours.
The percentage of patients visiting A&E being seen within the first four hours has continued to fall since 2010, when the coalition reduced the target from 98 to 95%, and the period between October and December 2014 saw the worst results since records began at the end of 2005.
The 95% target has proved difficult to meet since the end of summer, with the target missed in every week except one since the end of August.
A number of hospitals have also declared “major incidents” recently, with hospitals facing record numbers of patients, so while the proportion of patients treated within four hours has fallen, the number may have risen.
Dr Sarah Pinto-Duschinsky, Director of Operations and delivery for NHS England, said:
“In the immediate run up to Christmas the NHS treated 446,500 A&E attendees, up 38,000 on the same week last year. And there were 112,600 emergency admissions – the highest number in a single week since we started publishing performance figures in 2010.
“We faced similar demand over Christmas itself. In the week ending December 28th A&E attendances were up more than 31,000 on the same period last year, meaning we successfully treated more patients in under four hours than ever before.”