NHS England has suggested the 4 hour A&E target may be dropped under new plans to reform the target.
NHS England said the targets were becoming outdated and an overhaul was required alongside changes to waiting times for cancer, mental health and planned operations.
Under the new plans those patients coming in with heart attacks, acute asthma, sepsis and stroke will start their care within an hour.
The plan is to pilot the changes this year before potentially being introduced in 2020.
Professor Stephen Powis, the NHS in 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.”