Bosses at Scarborough Hospital say that recruiting more nurses would "make all the difference."
A major incident has been declared at the North Yorkshire hospital, which has seen overwhelming numbers of people using the accident and emergency unit.
Deputy chief executive of York NHS Foundation Trust Mark Proctor said there were around 30 nursing vacancies at the hospital but it was difficult to recruit the staff, including emergency department consultants and general physicians, despite having the funds to do so.
He said: "Scarborough Hospital has got around 30 or so nursing vacancies. If I could recruit those nurses, and I want to recruit those nurses and I've got the money to recruit those nurses, I could open an additional ward and that would make all the difference."
Mr Proctor added: "It's been very difficult to recruit those people to Scarborough, it's a national shortage, and so we would be in a better position if I could recruit to every vacancy we've got."
Cancer sufferers are among patients who have had their operations cancelled at Scarborough Hospital after it had to declare a major incident.
ITV Yorkshire reporter Jon Hill said the hospital told him it would not have happened if they had been able to recruit just 30 nurses to fill vacant posts.
The deputy chief executive of York NHS Foundation Trust has said the situation at Scarborough Hospital "wasn't as bad as it was yesterday".Read the full story ›
Hospital bosses in Scarborough say they are due to launch a recruitment drive in Spain next month to try take on nurses they can't get in the UK.
There are currently 30 nursing vacancies and the Trust believes if those posts were filled they would not have had to declare a major incident. They are due to open extra beds at Malton Community Hospital and Bridlington Hospital, but the major incident continues
During the busy Christmas week only one North East NHS Trust met its target for A&E waiting times. Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust achieved the 95% target of seeing patients in under four hours.
South Tyneside had the worst record, only seeing 78% of patients in under four hours. 85 people there had to wait up to 12 hours.
York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Scarborough Hospital where a major incident was declared yesterday, only managed to see 85% of patients in under four hours. 112 people waited up to 12 hours.
A&E waiting times have slumped to their worst levels in 10 years, statistics released by NHS England show.
Just 92.6% of patients are being seen within four hours - below the government target of 95%.
Quarterly records show the country's major A&E departments fared even worse, with fewer than nine in 10 patients - 88.9% - being seen within the target time.
Dr Sarah Pinto-Duschinsky, director of operations for NHS England, said it was still "the best measured performance of any major Western country".
She added: "In the immediate run-up to Christmas, the NHS treated 446,500 A&E attendees - up 38,000 on the same week last year.
"And there were 112,600 emergency admissions - the highest number in a single week since we started publishing performance figures in 2010.
"We faced similar demand over Christmas itself. In the week ending December 28 A&E attendances were up more than 31,000 on the same period last year.
"This means we successfully treated more patients in under four hours than ever before."
Out of the ten North East NHS Trusts only four met Government waiting time targets in the three months from October 2014.
- Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust
- Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
- North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust
- Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust
All met the target of seeing 95% of patients in less than four hours.
- South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust
- City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust
- Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust
- York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Are the six trusts which fell below target.
Sunderland and County Durham and Darlington each had one patient who had to wait more than 12 hours for treatment.
The Government target is for 95% of patients to be seen within 4 hours. See whether your local health trust met the target in October - December 2014.
- South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust - 90.5%
- City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust - 90.9%
- Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust - 95.4.%
- Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust - 94.8 %
- Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust - 95.4%
- South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust - 93.7%
- North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust - 95%
- County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust - 94.1%
- York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust - 89.4%
- Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust - 96.3%
Accident and emergency waiting times in England have fallen below Government target times, with just 92.6% of patients being seen within four hours,
Figures out later today could show waiting times at NHS hospitals at their worst level for ten years.
The quarterly statistics that cover October to December of last year may see the health service miss its target of seeing 95% of patients within four hours.
Cliff Mann of the College of Emergency Medicine told the BBC:
A&E units are really busy and services are stretched in many places. There is just not the capacity in the community to get patients out and with record numbers coming in there is gridlock.
The NHS has been given extra money this winter to help it cope, but I am not convinced it has all got through to the places it should. Things are getting very difficult.