Almost 100 people waited more than 12 hours for a bed at Arrowe Park Hospital's A&E department in December – the worst figures on record.

The shock figures come within months of the horrifying story of Pat McDonald, who waited three hours outside her house in Birkenhead for an ambulance because of A&E pressures.

Ms McDonald said that when she arrived at Arrowe Park Hospital she saw the extent of the crisis facing the NHS – and new figures now add to that picture.

In December, just 72.1% of A&E patients were seen within the 4-hour target time limit at Arrowe Park Hospital.

But the picture was almost as bad across the whole country.

In England, just 79.8% of people waited less than four hours in A&E last month, that was the lowest proportion since records began in November 2010.

More worryingly, so-called ‘trolley waits’ doubled last month.

That is the number of people waiting 12 hours or more to be admitted.

In November 1,112 experienced such waits, but that rose to 2,347 last month – the highest number on record.

The British Medical Association’s emergency medicine lead, Dr Simon Walsh said: “How many wake-up calls does the Government need?

“These figures are truly alarming and serve as yet further evidence that our NHS simply doesn’t have the resources, staff, or capacity to cope with rocketing demand.

“Emergency departments suffered their worst month on record in December, with more patients than ever before facing long delays to admission.

“These are sick patients, often left in cramped hospital corridors, until a bed is available. This is totally unacceptable and demands urgent action.”

Anthony Middleton, chief operating officer at Wirral University Teaching Hospital, said: “As is the case nationally demand on the Accident & Emergency Department at Wirral University Teaching Hospitals is extremely high.

“Our A&E is very busy and all staff continue to work tirelessly treating patients who have a range of complex health needs, requiring additional intervention before they can be moved safely to a hospital ward.

“Despite our very best efforts we recognise some patients will have experienced greater waits in our A&E this winter.

“We are working with our partners across the healthcare system to make sure that patients who no longer require hospital care are discharged as quickly as possible.

“We advise the public where possible to look at alternatives that may be more appropriate than A&E. Walk-in centres can help with minor injuries and illnesses with no appointment needed.

“Pharmacies can also offer a range of expert advice. If it is not an emergency, advice is also available 24 hours a day by calling 111.”