250 patients faced 12-hour wait in A&E last month

More than 250 people were forced to wait 12 hours or more to be admitted, transferred or discharged at accident and emergency departments last month, the latest figures show.

More than 54,000 people had to wait longer than four hours in November, meaning just 87.6% of patients were seen within the target time – the lowest proportion since March.

The performance statistics released by NHS England show there were 2.04 million attendances last month – fewer than the 2.08 million seen in October.

But more people had to wait longer, with 258 patients waiting more than 12 hours from decision to admit to admission, while 54,373 had to wait longer than four hours.

Labour’s shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said the statistics were “hugely concerning figures that don’t bode well for the difficult months ahead”.

He added: “While Government remains paralysed by Brexit infighting, the NHS is struggling as a result of years of underfunding, cuts and staffing shortages.

“Rather than their self-interest, Tory ministers must start prioritising patients’ interests by outlining proposals for the NHS this winter.

“It would be totally unforgivable if patients suffered another winter crisis like the ones we’ve seen in recent years.

“Patients will expect the imminent NHS plan to have a clear and credible solution to chronic understaffing and a road map for restoring performance that has deteriorated so unacceptably in recent years.”

The figures for November come after health leaders warned this winter could see hundreds of thousands of patients stranded in cramped corridors on hospital trolleys waiting for a bed.

Dr Rob Harwood, chairman of the British Medical Association’s consultant committee, said last week that this winter “could be the worst on record” for emergency departments, predicting a rise in the number of A&E attendances, longer waits and more people needing hospital admissions.

The doctors’ union said that in order to keep bed occupancy at safe levels over winter, hospitals need to boost capacity.