YORK Hospital trust has missed time limits for dealing with A&E patients every month for the last two years, figures have shown.

The government states that A&E departments are required to have seen 95 per cent of patients within four hours, but York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has missed the targets for the past 24 months in a row.

In March, only 80.9 per cent of patients at York Hospital were seen within four hours.

York's problems reflect a national situation in the NHS, with March itself having the single worst performance against the four-hour A&E target since it was introduced in 2004.

Higher volumes of patients going into hospital, staff shortages, and bed blocking caused by people being ready but unable to leave hospital due to inadequate support or available care - as well as limited funding - have all been given as reasons for difficulties.

The information about York has come from a quality and performance report presented to the Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which gives a snapshot of the challenges faced by the NHS in the area.

A spokesperson for York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said reducing delays across the system is the shared responsibility of the hospital, GPs, social care and commissioners. A number of measures are being put in place in order to do this, they said.

The spokesperson said: “Patients in A&E are treated according to clinical need, and those requiring urgent attention are seen promptly, however when we are facing high demand those with minor or less urgent needs may find that they are waiting longer.

"Despite these pressures, we are pleased that most of our patients give positive feedback about our emergency departments.”

Delays have also contributed to knock-on problems with ambulance handover times.

In March, 224 ambulances waited over an hour to hand over patients at York and Scarborough Hospitals and 222 ambulances waited over half-an-hour.

Any issues with bed blocking and "patient flow" should be eased by the appointment of discharge liaison officers appointed in April, the report notes.

Meanwhile, in the York and Selby area, Yorkshire Ambulance Service has missed its eight minute target to see people in life threatening conditions.

The ambulance service is required to reach 75 per cent of "red response" calls within eight minutes, but it missed the target in March with 69.5 per cent.

But despite several missed targets, the report also outlines positive news.

The NHS in York is meeting its targets to refer and see suspected cancer patients, with nearly 95 per cent of people seen within 14 days.

It is also meeting general 18 week targets for "referral to treatment".

The out of hours service has also been successful in meeting its targets for face-to-face consultations.