LESS than two-thirds of people who arrived at accident and emergency at Barnsley Hospital were seen within the NHS-set target of four hours last month - and medics have warned December’s statistics are likely to be even worse.

The NHS standard is for 95 per cent of patients to be seen within four hours.

NHS England figures show there were 8,635 visits to A and E at Barnsley Hospital in November - of them, 5,357 were seen within four hours, accounting for 62 per cent of arrivals.

It means the trust fell significantly short of the recovery target and the NHS standard.

Nuffield Trust researcher, Cyril Lobont, said longer waits in A and E represent the harsh reality of winter pressures on the NHS.

He added: “Performance against four-hour waits in A and E units remains significantly off target, with performance in November this year only a very slight improvement on last year, which was the second-worst month ever recorded bar December 2022.

“December has seen worse A and E waits than November in every year since 2010, so it is not out of the question that performance will deteriorate further.”

More than 600 patients waited longer than four hours, including two who were delayed by more than 12 hours.

NHS England said hospitals continue to see high demand with 2.2 million people attending A and E departments across the country last month.

The overall number of attendances to A and E at Barnsley Hospital in November was a slight drop from the 8,760 visits recorded during October, and four per left lower than the 8,978 patients seen in November 2022, however.

Professor Sir Stephen Powis, national medical director for the NHS, said staff face a ‘challenging winter’.

He said this includes the rising number of patients with flu, issues discharging medically-fit patients due to a lack of social care capacity and more industrial action planned ahead of Christmas.

“Our staff will once more be prioritising urgent and emergency care to protect patient safety and ensure those in life-saving emergencies can receive the best possible care,” he added.

“It is hugely welcome news that we have been able to recruit hundreds more emergency staff ahead of this winter, with over 1,700 more ambulance staff and significant increases in the number of 111 and 999 call handlers to help deal with record demand for services as we head into the busier winter months.

“The latest figures show hospitals are already under considerable strain, with over 95,000 beds occupied and hundreds of patients admitted with viruses, which is why it is so important we have more colleagues with their shoulder to the wheel to help treat as many patients as possible, as quickly as possible.”