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Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt admitted meeting the A&E standard was proving tough, but pointed out that England has some of the toughest targets in the world.
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"Targets matter but not at any cost. The priority is to treat people with dignity and respect."
But Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham said patients were being exposed to "an unacceptable levels of risk".
"This crisis in A&E has its roots in the government's cuts to social care and GP access and its disastrous decision to throw the NHS into the chaos of reorganisation."
'Intolerable pressure'
It is the second time the target - which measures the point from arrival to being discharged, admitted to hospital or transferred elsewhere - has been missed under the coalition.
In the first three months of 2013 94.1% of patients were seen in four hours.
Meeting the target has proved particularly tough since the end of the summer.
The target has been missed on a weekly basis - England provides these figures along with the quarterly statistics - every week except one since the end of August.
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Jeremy Hunt: "It is a very tough time on the front

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