Good evening. A fresh discovery of classified documents at a property belonging to Joe Biden has been made - this time in his garage next to his Corvette. Scroll down to World News for more. We also have the latest as new figures revealed the depth of the crisis facing the NHS, with heart attack victims left waiting an hour and a half for an ambulance.
Evening briefing: Today's essential headlines
Royals | It was business as usual for the Royal Family as an upbeat Prince and Princess of Wales and King Charles stepped out for their first public engagements since the Duke of Sussex's memoir was released. King Charles appeared in good spirits as he met members of the public in Scotland.
Prince William and the Princess of Wales also looked relaxed as they opened the new Royal Liverpool University Hospital. Meanwhile, Harry's ghostwriter defended the book from claims of inaccuracies and historical errors. Michael Deacon writes that Harry’s hypocrisy is hilarious – but also desperately sad.
- Education | University personal statements to be scrapped
- Politics | Sadiq Khan calls for 'debate' on rejoining single market
- Media | Guardian risks fine of up to £17.5m after cyber attack
- EU | MEP resigns after not declaring luxury holiday paid for by Qatar
- Strikes | Teaching union fails to secure enough support for strike
The big story: NHS gripped by 'deep crisis'
The turmoil facing the NHS has been exposed by new figures which reveal shocking wait times. These include how heart attack victims were forced to wait an average of 90 minutes for an ambulance last month, in the worst waiting times on record.
Our health editor Laura Donnelly writes that the figure is almost half an hour worse than the previous high with delays of around an hour for such patients in October. The target is 18 minutes.
Think tanks warned of a “deep crisis” across the NHS, with widespread and sustained problems across the service. Figures for A&E waits were also the worst on record, though the total number of people on the NHS waiting list has fallen slightly, the statistics show. Check waiting times and death rates across England and at your local hospital by entering your postcode here.
The data from NHS England shows the average response time in December for ambulances dealing with the most urgent incidents, defined as calls from people with life-threatening illnesses or injuries, was 10 minutes and 57 seconds. This is also the worst performance on record and is set against a target of seven minutes.
Asked whether Rishi Sunak thought it was acceptable that category 2 ambulance waiting times for issues such as strokes or chest pain averaged more than 90 minutes in December, the Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "No, and obviously people will rightly be concerned by the performance statistics out today."
Allister Heath writes that the dysfunctionality of the NHS is becoming a stain on our global reputation.
12-hour A&E queues
The figures for England also showed a record 54,532 people waited more than 12 hours in A&E departments last month from a decision to admit to actually being admitted.
And the proportion of patients seen within four hours in England’s A&Es fell to a record low of 65 per cent in December. Siva Anandaciva, chief analyst at The King’s Fund, said there was "no shying away from the reality that the NHS is deep in crisis".
The news comes a day after up to 25,000 ambulance workers walked out on strike in a dispute with the Government over pay. Nurses are set to take industrial action again across England in January - here are the dates of all the strikes.
New statins guidance
Anyone who wants to take statins should be able to opt for the cholesterol-busting drugs under radical new NHS guidance. Currently around 8 million people in the UK take the drugs to ward off heart attacks and strokes.
But England’s chief medical officer is concerned by a sharp rise in heart deaths since the pandemic, which may be caused by a fall in the numbers being put on medication during lockdown.
Laura Donnelly writes that the new draft guidance from the National Institute of Health Care Excellence says the decision about whether to take the drugs should be left to individual patients.
Comment and analysis
- Ross Clark | Czar's pay rise encapsulates failure of Sadiq Khan
- Sam Greene | Why Putin's command shake-up is doomed to fail
- Oliver Brown | Raducanu risks being a ‘one-and-done’ champion
- Douglas Murray | Remainer elites were the original election deniers
- Jemima Lewis | Don't ban teenagers from hugging
World news: Classified files found in Biden's garage
The US President has admitted that classified documents from his time as vice president were found in his garage next to his Corvette. The discovery - the second this week - was made by Mr Biden's own lawyers. Our US editor Nick Allen writes that they launched a search of his properties after 10 classified documents from when he was vice president were found in his personal office at a think tank in Washington. Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin has accused a minister of "fooling around" and "not trying hard enough" to acquire more military and civilian aircraft for the war in Ukraine.
Warren Gatland: My baby daughter died at four months old – that’s what drives me
For the first time, the Wales head coach reveals how the loss of his daughter shaped his career and coaching philosophy
Sport news: Former Premier League footballer jailed
Disgraced former Premier League player Richard Rufus has been jailed for seven-and-a-half years for scamming family and friends out of £15 million to maintain his lavish lifestyle. The ex-Charlton Athletic centre-back, once voted the club’s greatest ever defender, was sentenced at Southwark Crown Court on Thursday after being found guilty last month of four counts of fraud by false representation and money laundering and one count of carrying out a regulated activity without authorisation. Rufus convinced up to 100 of his nearest and dearest to invest in his fraudulent foreign currency exchange scheme by claiming the likes of then-England star Rio Ferdinand had already done so.
Nell Zink | ‘It amazes me that Americans put up with so much gun crime and inequality’
Health | Over 40 and taking antibiotics? Here’s what you need to know about your gut
Cricket | England's all-time greatest Test XI, as voted by Telegraph readers
Business news: Energy bills forecast to fall further
Energy bill forecasts have been cut for the second time in two weeks in a boost to households and the government. The price cap is forecast to fall to £2,478 per year in July, Investec said, which is more than £150 below an estimate made on January 4. Rachel Millard writes that the cut comes as gas prices continue to tumble thanks to warmer than usual winter weather. Meanwhile, Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of collapsed crypto-exchange FTX, has denied stealing billions of dollars of user funds from the trading platform and blamed a rival for its demise.
Tonight starts now
How I got into the best shape of my life at 70 – and you can too | Joan MacDonald transformed her life with strength training, good nutrition and a positive mental attitude – now she wants to help others. Read here to find out what Joan advises.
Three things for you
- Watch | Marie Antoinette, BBC Two, 9pm
- Review | The Reunion: Ioan Gruffudd flounders in Euro-nonsense
- Fashion | Why I love the ‘neat knit’
And finally... for this evening's downtime
10 beautiful villages you’ve probably never heard of | There’s a common reluctance among travellers to book trips that revolve around a single village. The pull of nearby cities and towns is too great, the transport links can be poor, or perhaps they fear there just won’t be enough to do. To solve this conundrum, we turned to the World Tourism Organisation’s (UNWTO) Best Tourism Villages list. It recognises the tiny settlements around the world that cater well to holidaymakers – but are doing so sustainably.
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