Patients waiting 20 hours in A&E in Merseyside hospital as pressure on NHS grows ahead of winter

ITV News Health Editor, Emily Morgan, reports on the strains weighing on the health service which has left some patients waiting 20 hours in A&E for a bed in Whiston Hospital

Words by ITV News Health Producer Alex Cherrie

National figures for ambulance response times, A&E wait times and routine hospital treatment waiting lists have all reached record highs, as pressures this winter play out across hospitals in the NHS

For A&E services, some 121,000 people waited at least four hours, and 7,059 people had to wait more than 12 hours - the highest monthly tolls since records began in August 2010.At Whiston Hospital in Merseyside, staff in A&E are seeing around 400 people come through their doors every day, and have experienced highs of 170 people waiting to be seen at one time.

"We work tirelessly every day" - Rob Cooper, Director of Operations and Performance, told ITV News it is busier than ever

This constant flow of patients is pushing staff to their limits. Senior Sister Claire Fraser told ITV News that "the pressure is unbearable at times".

She added" "I'm not sure how much longer this can go on. I don't feel going into winter that this is sustainable for us here."

Rob Cooper, Director of Operations and Performance, told ITV News that it is busier now compared to previous years, and this pressure is expected to continue into next year.

"After New Year and at the beginning of next year, it gets busier still and we're already using all the things that we can [now] to provide that additional capacity," he explained.

He goes on to say: "We work tirelessly every day to make sure that they are getting patients discharged safely, so that we can accommodate the acutely unwell patients that are coming in at the front door."