ALMOST 10,000 people attended Warrington Hospital's A&E department in December with 76 per cent of patients being dealt with within the four hour target time.

In December 2018, 76.4 per cent of patients were treated within four hours.

Figures published by the NHS yesterday, Thursday revealed a total of 2.1 million visits to A&Es across England in December - the highest in five months.

Only 79.8 per cent of all patients were cared for in December within the target time across the country.

Almost 400,000 A&E patients waited more than four hours to be treated.

Nationally, this is the worst ever performance of its kind in the NHS for December.

Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said the figures 'represent a cry of despair from a service that is delivering remarkable care to millions of patients, but is under enormous pressure'.

In December, 9,495 people attended Warrington's A&E department, 568 more than in December 2018.

The number of people waiting more than four hours from arrival to admission, transfer or discharge stood at 2,281 whereas 7,214 people were dealt with within the target time.

This means 76 per cent of patients spent four hours or less in A&E from arriving until admission, transfer or discharge.

No patients under emergency admission at Warrington waited more than 12 hours to be admitted compared to 2,347 nationally.

The NHS four-hour A&E target states that 95 per cent of all emergency patients should be admitted to hospital or discharged within four hours of arriving.

But this target has not been hit since 2015.

Katherine Henderson, president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, said: "The NHS is struggling to escape its spiral of decline.

"With a record low in terms of four-hour performance and highest ever number of 12-hour waits, this will have been a miserable Christmas period for many patients and staff alike."

The Prime Minister's official spokesman added: "Over two million people attended A&E last month, that means that dedicated staff cared for over 70,000 people every day - the highest ever for December.

"We have invested an extra £240 million in adult social care to get patients home quicker and an extra £1 billion for immediate hospital upgrades.

"Improving the NHS is a priority of the Prime Minister and a record cash boost worth £33.9 billion extra by 2023/24 is being enshrined in law by the Government."