Waiting times for accident and emergency patients have reached a nine-year high, according to figures released today.
A report from The King's Fund shows in the final quarter of 2012/13, 5.9 percent of patients - the equivalent of 313,000 people - waited for four hours or longer in A&E, the highest level since 2004.
It is an increase of more than a third on the previous three months, and of nearly 40 percent since the same quarter the previous year.
It means the Government's target that no more than five percent of patients should wait for more than four hours has been broken for the first time since June 2011, when they promised to keep waiting levels low.
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