It is a problem we seem to hear repeated every year and the trend appears to be continuing. Hospitals are reported to be missing key targets for cancer, hospital care and A&E treatment, such targets have been missed for over three years.

In respect of A&E the shortcomings have been reported on many occasions and yet the problem remains. Hospitals have a target to see 95% of patients within four hours of arrival and yet they are only achieving 83.6%. This is the worst performance it has seen since the target was introduced in 2004.

In respect of cancer patients, there is a target 85% of patients commencing treatment within 62 days and yet only 76.9% of patients do so. This target has not been hit since December 2015.

The NHS is under considerable strain and whilst it manages to see the majority of patients in the target time, delays are without doubt affecting the treatment and recovery time of those who slip beyond the target time.

Dr Nick Scriven, of the Society of Acute Medicine, said: "These figures are truly worrying as we haven't even reached the 'traditional' winter period yet". He advised urgent action was needed, warning the system was "imploding".

British Medical Association leader Dr Chaand Nagpaul said the NHS was facing a "catastrophe", "This is completely unfair for patients and staff".

Chief Executive of NHS Providers, Chris Hopson, was concerned about the use of certain language being used by senior staff but did concede that he was worried about the "huge pressure" on the system at this point before the full onset of winter.

NHS England agreed that hospitals were under pressure, seeing "more older and sicker patients".

Whilst politicians consider what will happen in the future with the NHS, patients seeking treatment from the NHS now are at risk of suffering delays in treatment which could ultimately be life changing.

Freeths solicitors have experience of medical negligence claims following a delay in receiving appropriate medical treatment, either in A&E care or cancer diagnosis and treatment. Such delays in receiving effective treatment have the potential to lead to significant life changing damage and potentially death.

If you are concerned about delays suffered by you or a loved one which you feel has led to negligent care, please contact a member of our national team for a free, informal discussion:-

Karen Reynolds, Partner (Derby/Stoke on Trent/Birmingham) on 0845 272 5677 karen.reynolds@freeths.co.uk

Carolyn Lowe, Partner (Oxford/Milton Keynes) 0186 578 1019 carolyn.lowe@freeths.co.uk

Jane Williams, Partner (Leicester/Nottingham) on 0845 272 5724 jane.williams@freeths.co.uk

For more information about this BBC news report please see the following link:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-50397856