The NHS recorded its worst ever performance in the first month of the year as services struggled to cope with unprecedented demand for A&E care, hospital beds and ambulances.
Hundreds of thousands of patients were forced to wait longer than they should for time-critical care as the NHS missed almost all its key waiting time targets.
The latest monthly performance figures, released on Thursday by NHS England, show that hospitals buckled badly during January, partly because the traditional “winter pressures” arrived later than usual.
A total of 212,136 patients waited more than the maximum four hours to be admitted, transferred or discharged from hospital A&E units – the highest number ever. Hospitals only treated 83% of A&E patients within four hours, way below the 95% standard they are meant to achieve.
Full story in The Guardian 10 March 2016