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Ambulances are being forced to queue outside the majority of emergency departments before they can unload patients, a new survey suggests.

Under NHS guidance, ambulance handovers should be completed within 15 minutes.

But about two-thirds of A&Es polled by the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) indicated they were struggling to meet the standard every day.

The Department of Health said extra funding is being provided to boost staff numbers in key areas.

RCEM president Dr Katherine Henderson said: “We are facing a crisis in urgent care and a crisis of patient safety.”