NHS hospital performance against the four-hour A&E target stood at just 74.96 percent, well under the 95 percent target, for the week ending March 11th, show the most recent data from the Royal College of Emergency Medicine’s Winter Flow Project.

The result, taken from an average of 50 Trusts and Health Boards monitored for the project, shows continued deterioration from the prior week’s figure of 78.69 percent, and was also 9.35 percentage points lower than at the same point last year (84.31 percent).

“What this data illustrates very clearly is that our Emergency Departments remain in crisis, and if anything, that crisis is getting worse,” said Dr Taj Hassan, RCEM president.

“Performance that once would have been regarded as utterly unacceptable has now become normal. While performance issues are more pronounced during the winter, Emergency Departments are now struggling all year round.”

On the plus side, the number of patients subject to delayed transfers of care (DTOC) was 2,245, up from 2,213 the previous week, but this was still under the figure for 2016/17 of 2,702.

“Despite this four-hour standard performance continues to move relentlessly downwards because the resources Providers have available to do the job are demonstrably inadequate. That is why Providers are still being forced to cancel near record levels of elective operations in order to free up capacity,” Dr Hassan stressed.

“Four-hour standard performance this week is almost 10 percentage points lower than was the case at the same point last year, and there is no unwritten rule that means things cannot get any worse,” added the NHS Confederation.

“For the sake of patients and staff, Providers need action now. The Government needs to respond.”

Earlier this month the College urged patients to lobby MPs for action to address the “serious challenges” facing Emergency Departments across the UK.