January was the second-worst month for A&E — NHS crisis

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt visits the Renal Transplant Unit at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital in Liverpool

'When they signed up to go into medicine, they knew there would be pressurised moments.

But Mr Hunt did say sorry to patients, telling ITV News: "I take responsibility for everything that happens in the NHS".

'I think we're beyond the time when words from me will make a difference.

He added: 'We've got the flu outbreak which, although it's not an epidemic, is the worst we've had for many years'. Others have warned that "distressing scenes of patients in corridors on trolleys have become an all too familiar sight this winter".

"It follows the Prime Minister's weird comment last month that cancelled operations were "part of the plan" for the NHS and that "nothing is perfect".

Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust rated the lowest with only 66% of patients seen within four hours, and the highest number of patients to have to wait over twelve hours to be seen were 272 at the University Hospitals Of North Midlands NHS Trust.

Some 45 of the 180 trusts included in the NHS Digital report breached waits of 1,380 minutes - or 23 hours - during the last month of 2017. In 92.6% of cases where patients were admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours or less. The figure would have been much worse had Theresa May not announced a mass cancellation of routine treatments in England to ease pressure.

Figures showing January was the second-worst month on record for A&E waiting times in England is "hard evidence on just how bad a winter the NHS is having", a leading expert has said.

The national average is 85.3% for four waiting times, which higher than December 2017 and January previous year.

This is from figures on NHS A&E waiting times, for January 2018, which were published on the NHS website today.

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The county's A&E departments are still struggling to meet government targets, it has been revealed.

Category one calls are defined as life-threatening injuries, such as cardiac arrest.

Figures released by NHS England also show that 81,000 patients had to wait on trolleys in A&E for more than four hours, and more than 1,000 waited for more than 12 hours. "Over a thousand of those had to wait a shocking 12 hours or more".

'These pressures are a symptom of a far more long-term problem - we need proper investment in both the NHS and social care in order to treat patients quickly and safely all year round'.

The Royal College of Nursing has called for proper investment in health and social care services to prevent this from happening again next winter.

Richard Murray, director of policy for The King's Fund, said: 'Today's data show the NHS is still under significant pressure.

Dr Nick Scriven, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said the figures demonstrate how the NHS does "not now have a sustainable model" to cope during the busy winter months when illnesses such as flu and norovoris are more prevalent. Neither of these were unpredictable, but both have combined to cause the issues that have been widely reported across the country.

Dr Nick Scriven, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said the figures demonstrate how the NHS does "not now have a sustainable model" to cope during the busy winter months when illnesses such as flu and norovirus are more prevalent.

The latest stats show there was a slight improvement on A&E waiting times in Kent last month, with 78% being seen within four hours - up from 73% in December.

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