ONE in four patients at Bournemouth hospital last month had to wait longer to be seen in A&E than the NHS target.

Figures released this week by NHS England show only 75 per cent of patients were admitted, transferred or discharged in less than four hours.

Hospital bosses have put the result down to “very significant demand”, with a large increase in people coming to A&E.

Casualty units are set a target of seeing at least 95 per cent of patients within four hours but in December the national performance of just 79.8 per cent was the worst achieved since the performance records began in 2004.

Alyson O’Donnell, medical director at Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospital, said: “The Royal Bournemouth Hospital has seen a large increase in patients attending our Accident and Emergency department.

“The department has experienced very significant demand this winter, in common with many other A&E units nationally.

“In both November and December, the number of patients was up 10 per cent from the previous year. Many patients have not been treated as quickly as we would like them to be, but all patients are assessed when they arrive so staff can deal with the most urgent cases first. “

Last month, a total of 8,905 people came to A&E at Royal Bournemouth Hospital , with 2,216 having to wait longer than four hours to be seen.

“We are extremely grateful to colleagues within our emergency team and across the wider organisation for their continued commitment and extra support that was provided during this period, day and night,” said Ms O’Donnell.

“We would like to remind everyone that A&E is for the most serious injury or illness and to use alternatives where appropriate to save themselves lengthy delays and to risk delaying patients who need more urgent care. Further details can be found at”

As reported yesterday, wait times to see a clinician at Poole Hospital’s A&E department reportedly reached more than 10 hours earlier this month.

Poole Hospital is one of a group of sites trialling a new performance record system that is being considered by NHS England.

The new method, which is being piloted by 14 NHS trusts, covers aspects like the time it takes for a patient to be initially assessed, critically ill and injured patients being treated within the first hour and the overall average time spent in the emergency department.

Speaking in April at the launch of the trial, Poole Hospital deputy chief operating officer Mark Mould said: “It is believed that these improved measures have the potential to improve care and enhance patient safety, and the proposals have received widespread support from NHS staff and patient groups and charities.”