Just one hospital in England has hit its targets for cancer, operations and accident and emergency over the past year, it was claimed today.
Growing demand is leaving the NHS struggling to serve patients, with Luton and Dunstable NHS Trust in Bedfordshire the only service to have achieved its goals.
England, Wales and Northern Ireland have not hit any of their three targets for 18 months, while Scotland has only had success with its A&E goal in the last year.
England, Wales and Northern Ireland have not hit any of their three targets for 18 months, while Scotland has only had success with its A&E goal in the last year (file picture)
Hospital staff told the BBC, which conducted the research, of their concerns over shortages of doctors and nurses, a lack of money and insufficient room in A&E.
It was also revealed that one in nine patients now wait longer than four hours to be seen in A&E – and the chances of this have more than doubled in four years.
The last time Wales achieved a target was 2010, while England – which hit its key targets 86 per cent of the time in 2012-13 – missed every monthly target last year.
Professor Srinivasan Madhusudan, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust’s head of cancer, suggested there were insufficient staff to cope with patient demand.
He told the BBC: ‘When I get to work I want to treat my patients as soon as I can. So do my colleagues. There are only so many patients that you can treat.
‘We have a team of 22 fantastic oncologists who are working very hard to do the best they can under what is quite a stressful situation.’
But Professor Keith Willett, the director for acute care in NHS England, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘This winter we will be extending the access to GPs, so that by the end of the winter, 50 per cent of the whole population will have access to extended hours in general practice.
‘The 111 service is moving to a situation when patients call 111, they will be able to speak to a clinician. That has gone up in the last year from 20 per cent to 26 per cent.’
He added: ‘It’s all about the pressure on beds. We have 100,000 beds in the NHS, of which about 40 per cent are for the treatment of planned conditions, like cancer. So whatever we do across the system releases it.’
A Department of Health spokesman told MailOnline: ‘We know the NHS faces pressure over winter which is why it started preparing earlier than ever and has robust plans in place, supported by an extra £100million for A&Es.
‘Health systems worldwide face similar pressures but thanks to the hard work of staff, more than 60 per cent of hospital services in England are rated good or outstanding, and hospitals across the country treat hundreds of thousands more people within four hours in A&E departments and perform 1.5million more operations and other treatments within 18 weeks than they did five years ago, despite the increasing demands of an ageing population.’
Growing demand is leaving the NHS struggling to serve patients, with Luton and Dunstable NHS Trust in Bedfordshire the only service to have achieved its goals
And a Welsh Government spokesperson said: ‘There have been significant increases in the numbers of people needing treatment in the NHS in Wales.
‘The vast majority of patients continue to be treated within access and treatment targets and patient surveys consistently show high levels of satisfaction with our NHS.
‘We have also seen a 30 per cent improvement in Referral to Treatment Targets for those waiting over 36 weeks compared to August 2015.
‘Despite this, we recognise in some cases people are waiting too long for care and treatment. This is why we continue to invest more than ever before in health and social care, to help meet the ever increasing demand being placed on both services.’
NHS England has also been approached for a comment by MailOnline today.
To check how your area is performing, click here to use the BBC’s tool