WAITING times for emergency patients continue to increase at a Worcester hospital as the NHS struggles to cope with the volume of sick and injured people through the doors.

Performance continues to worsen at county hospitals, including the Worcestershire Royal Hospital in Worcester as winter pressures clog up hospital beds figures released today by NHS England show.

The ongoing pressure means patients are likely to continue to receive care on trolleys in corridors as beds are full. Roger Barry of Stourport, as reported on today's Worcester News front page, was admitted to the Royal and spent 15 hours on a trolley after being taken to hospital by ambulance, suffering chest pains.

Hospitals are supposed to see patients within four hours from arrival to admission transfer or discharge in at least 95 per cent of cases. But trusts across the country, including Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust have been struggling to hit the target as demand for care remains high.

The trust managed to treat people within the four hours in just 84.9 per cent of cases (10 per cent below target) in the week ending February 8 (the latest figure published by NHS England). There were 3,109 A&E attendances at Worcester and the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch that week and 469 breaches (people waiting longer than four hours).

The figure the previous week was 86.3 per cent, the week before that was 91.5 per cent suggesting that performance is continuing to dip. Despite a slight fall in the number of attendances from 3,194 (week ending February 1) to 3,109 (week ending February 8), the proportion of people waiting longer than four hours at Worcestershire hospitals increased. This is in contrast to the national picture where waiting times, though below target, have improved slightly from the previous week.

Statistics released by NHS England show that 92.9 per cent of patients were admitted, transferred or discharged within the four-hour limit in the week ending February 8, up from 92.3 per cent the previous week.

It is the 19th week in succession that the goal of 95 per cent has been missed.

The cold weather contributed to a 6,400 rise in A&E attendances compared with the week before. There were 407,400 attendances in A&E last week, up from 401,000 the previous week but still below the peak of 440,000 experienced before Christmas.

The number of instances of ''bed-blocking'' were down, with 4,000 hospitals beds unavailable for incoming patients because of delays in transfers of occupants to care elsewhere, down from 4,200 the previous week.

Dr Sarah Pinto-Duschinsky, director of operations and delivery for NHS England, said: "A&E performance moved in the right direction week-on-week giving cause for cautious optimism, with more than nine out of ten patients being admitted, treated and discharged within four hours.

"This has been achieved in the face of increased pressure on A&E with both the number of attendances and emergency admissions having gone up this week."

She added that the cold weather can add to increased levels of respiratory illness, particularly among the elderly and people should make sure they keep warm and use their local pharmacist where possible.