The four-hour target that aims to ensure 95% of patients are seen to within that time frame might be about to be scrapped.
It was introduced in 2004, to improve patient care, but last month only two hospital trusts achieved it.
NHS England believe that the targets were outdated and plan to reorganise how patients are dealt with.
They will trial a rapid assessment measure for all patients arriving at A&E, with the intention of providing quicker life-saving treatment for those with conditions such as heart attacks, sepsis, stroke and severe asthma attacks, hopefully within an hour.
These changes are to be piloted this year and, if deemed successful, could be introduced in 2020 across the service.
Professor Stephen Powis, NHS England’s national medical director and leader of the review, said: “The NHS is aiming to improve care for patients and save hundreds of thousands more lives over the coming years, with greater access to mental health support, better treatment for the major killer conditions and services which are more joined-up, personalised and closer to home.
“So, as we build an NHS that is fit for the future, now is the right time to look again at the old targets which have such a big influence on how care is delivered, to make sure that they take account of the latest treatments and techniques, and support, not hinder, staff to deliver the kind of responsive, high-quality services that people want to see.”
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