The Countess of Chester Hospital is failing to meet performance targets in three vital areas, a study has revealed.

Research carried out by the BBC shows the hospital has fallen below the required waiting time levels set for A&E, cancer care, and planned operations and care. 

The findings were revealed yesterday when the BBC launched its online NHS Tracker project, which allows people to see how their local service is performing on the three key waiting time targets.

Tony Chambers, chief executive of the Countess of Chester NHS Foundation Trust, said he was “disappointed“"” to be falling below the targets, adding the results “reflect the pressure the hospital is under”.

Meanwhile, City of Chester's Labour MP Chris Matheson said the findings proved the Conservative Government needed a “radical rethink of its health service policies”, adding that hospital staff were “doing the best they can with what they have”.

The study showed the performance of hospitals across the UK has slumped, with targets now being missed en masse.

l FOR A&E, the target is to have 95 per cent of patients treated or admitted in four hours.

At the Countess, the latest available monthly figure (for September) was 85.5 per cent – ranking them 99th out of 134 trusts.

The target has not been hit by the Countess since August 2015.

Concerning cancer care, the target is for 85 per cent of patients to begin treatment within 62 days of an urgent GP referral. Here, the Countess fell narrowly short (84.5 per cent) in August, leaving them ranked 72nd out of 135 trusts. The target was last hit in June.

For planned ops and care, the aim is to have 92 per cent waiting less than 18 weeks. Again, the Countess fell just short on 91.3 per cent in the latest monthly figures (August), ranking them 66th out of 131 trusts. It last hit the target in April.

Mr Chambers said: “We are disappointed to be falling below these three key targets, but while they do not reflect how hard everyone is working at the Countess to provide the best possible care for our patients, they do reflect the pressure the hospital is under.”

He added the A&E target “has been a consistent challenge for us”, with attendances increasing and difficulties discharging patients impacting on all our services.

Mr Chambers explained: “In the last two weeks we have admitted more people than we have been able to discharge.

“When there are no beds available it does have an inevitable knock-on effect which can be seen in the under-performance of our planned care and cancer targets.

“This situation is something we’ve been aware of and working to improve and we believe our new Emergency Care pathway, which involves every area of the hospital, will make a difference to our A&E performance as we head into winter.”

Mr Matheson said: “The NHS is in crisis – not just our local hospital, the whole NHS.

“Under this Government it has been mismanaged, fragmented and under-funded for too long. 

“What these figures show again is that the system has passed tipping point and the impact of that
locally is the Countess of Chester missing its targets in these key areas. 

“The staff are doing the best they can with what they have, but without a radical rethink of its policies, this Government is incapable of providing the health service people in Chester need.”

Only one service in the whole of the UK – run by Luton and Dunstable NHS Trust – has managed to hit all three targets each time over the past 12 months.