NHS slips further from A&E target as winter pressures mount


The NHS in England is slipping on its four-hour A&E waiting time target as winter pressures start to mount, figures suggest.

In September, 93.4% of patients attending emergency departments were seen within four hours - against a target of 95%.

In the previous month, the figure was 94.3%.

In the major A&E departments, 90% of patients were seen within four hours in September.

The data is often cited as an indicator of the NHS beginning to struggle as it prepares for a busy winter period.

It comes after Dr Mark Holland, the president of the Society for Acute Medicine, warned that A&E units are facing a "perfect storm" that will heap on the pressure in the build-up to winter.

He told Sky News that a lack of staff and possible industrial action by junior doctors were "very, very worrying" at this time of year.

He said there had been a rise in the number of patients needing emergency care at this stage of the year.

Last winter, from October to December 2014, 92.6% of patients were seen in four hours.

That was the worst quarterly result since the target was introduced at the end of 2004.

The data, published by NHS England, is for all A&E types, including minor injury units and walk-in centres.

It refers to the number discharged, admitted or transferred within four hours of arrival.