Figures from the King’s Fund show that nearly six per cent of patients waited for four hours or longer in accident and emergency in the final quarter of last year.
Waiting times for accident and emergency patients reach a nine-year high, according to latest figures.
The monitoring report from the King’s Fund showed that in the final quarter of 2012/2013, 5.9 per cent of patients (313,000 people) waited for four hours or longer in A&E – the highest level since 2004.
This is an increase of more than a third on the previous three months, and of nearly 40 per cent since the same quarter the previous year.
It means that the Government’s target that no more than five per cent of patients should wait for more than four hours has been broken for the first time since June 2011, when it pledged to keep waiting levels low.
John Appleby, chief economist at the King’s Fund, said: ‘Emergency care acts as a barometer fo