Patients to face new waiting times after Hartlepool's hospital trust chosen to trial new ways of dealing with emergencies
Patients in need of emergency care will be seen to under a new waiting time system after Hartlepool's hospital trust was chosen to trial new targets.
Fourteen NHS hospital trusts are set to pilot the new goals, which could lead to changes in the way A&E performance is measured.
Under the new plans for emergency care, patients with the most serious conditions will receive rapid treatment within an hour, while people with minor conditions can expect to wait longer.
At present, all A&E patients should be seen within four hours, but the target has not been hit since July 2015.
The proposals have faced criticism from some, who say the targets are being abandoned because they can no longer be met.
NHS England said: "The information we gather through field testing and engagement will inform final recommendations from this review, and ahead of full implementation beginning spring 2020."
It said hospitals at selected sites will begin testing from May before wider implementation in spring next year.
A series of pilots were announced by the body last month, including possible changes to targets for A&E, cancer and planned operations.
The hospitals trialling other new proposed targets have not yet been announced.
The Royal College of Emergency Medicine has previously warned that scrapping the four-hour A&E target would have "a near-catastrophic impact on patient safety".
The hospital trusts leading testing of the proposed targets for urgent and emergency care are:
- North Tees and Hartlepool
- Cambridge University Hospitals
- Chelsea and Westminster Hospital
- Frimley Health
- Imperial College Healthcare
- Kettering General Hospital
- Luton and Dunstable University Hospital
- Mid Yorkshire Hospitals
- Nottingham University Hospitals
- Plymouth Hospitals
- Poole Hospital
- Portsmouth Hospitals
- West Suffolk