Patients at Yorkshire accident and emergency departments are facing increasing delays as NHS performance nationally dropped to its lowest ever level.
New figures show the treatment time target of four hours for people going to A&E was significantly missed at several Yorkshire hospital trusts in December.
Thousands of patients across the region also waited between four and 12 hours for hospital beds, often on a trolley, chair or in a side room. At York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, 11 patients waited over 12 hours for a bed.
The latest national data shows performance against the A&E target to treat, admit or discharge 95 per cent of patients within four hours fell to 86.2 per cent in December – the lowest ever.
The picture is even worse in Yorkshire, where only 77 per cent of those attending A&E units run by The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust were seen within four hours.
The trust, which runs hospitals in Wakefield, Dewsbury and Pontefract, also had almost 2,000 trolley waits of more than four hours, the highest in the region.
It had the largest number of attendances of any Yorkshire trust in December, with 19,596, and Dr Sarah Robertshaw, head of clinical service emergency medicine, said they saw a 9 per cent increase over Christmas compared to the same period last year.
She added: “We recognise the fact that we fell short of the four hour target but can assure that much work has been undertaken to streamline the ambulance handover process.”
Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust had the second worst A&E performance in Yorkshire, hitting the target with 78.1 per cent of patients.
There were also 1,416 trolley waits of up to 12 hours, the second highest in the region.
Suzanne Hinchliffe, deputy chief executive, said they had experienced “unprecedented” demand due to the numbers attending Emergency Departments, patients with more serious ailments and challenges in out-of-hospital care.
“Our key priority at this time is to ensure that patients receive the safest possible care and our staff in A&E and right across our hospitals are working extremely hard to keep delays to a minimum,” she added.
A spokeswoman for York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said attendances and severity of illnesses at the end of December were the highest number seen within the last three years.
She added that winter plans were designed to help manage pressures but added: “However, with activity at times peaking at unprecedented levels, particularly with regard to the volume and acuity of patients admitted, this inevitably had an effect on some aspects of our services.”
The figures emerged as Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt acknowledged that performance in some parts of the NHS is “completely unacceptable”,
Mr Hunt said there was “no excuse” for some of the problems faced by patients over the winter and accepted that some of the care being offered was not what anyone would want for their own family.
Speaking to the BBC, Mr Hunt said there was already a “big transformation programme” under way in the NHS with the aim of treating more people at home or in the community to ease burdens on hospitals.
But he conceded that the changes would take time and said progress had been “disappointingly slow” in some areas.