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The latest NHS performance statistics reveals that waiting times at the Accident and Emergency (A&E) department has hit a new record low, for the second month in a row.

February figures show the worst performance since the four-hour target was introduced and only 84.2 percent of the total patients were admitted or treated in over four hours. The number of patients seen in over four hours was 308,428 compared to 272,187 in February 2018.

There were 70,813 patients waiting for more than four hours from ‘decision to admit’ to ‘admission’, of which 520 patients waited for more than 12 hours.

“Despite a mild winter, today’s figures reveal a hidden crisis in hospitals up and down the country. In February just 84.2 percent of patients were seen by A&E units within the four-hour target, the lowest level since this data was first collected. Meanwhile, the NHS is now missing 6 out of 8 of the existing targets for cancer diagnosis and treatment,” Deborah Ward, Senior Analyst at The King’s Fund said.

“We must not become immune to the reality that behind today’s figures are stories of people with urgent medical needs waiting too long to be treated. Whilst the NHS England’s Clinically-led Review of NHS Access Standards seeks to address some of these issues, changing existing targets and introducing new standards is not a panacea for improving patient care – without enough staff and resources to care for patients, targets both new and old will continue to be missed.”