The NHS has not met targets for dealing with accident and emergency patients in the last two months, new official figures show.
Currently, the NHS is required to tend to 95 per cent of all A&E patients in less than four hours, but over the course of the past nine weeks just 93.3 per cent have been admitted, transferred or discharged within the required timeframe.
The figure shows the pressure hospitals are under at present. Indeed, the East of England ambulance service had to erect a "major incident tent" outside the Norfolk and Norwich hospital last weekend to prevent the A&E department being overrun with patients.
Dr Peter Carter, chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing, said: "These figures are yet more proof of a system running at capacity, and patients are suffering as a result."
He added that the college's members are regularly saying that pressure on the system is increasing, while staff numbers are falling.
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