More than 7,700 people had to wait at least four hours to be admitted to, transferred or discharged from Gloucestershire hospitals, according to the latest figures.

Data published by NHS England, show that 5,290 people waited more than four hours to be seen at Gloucestershire’s two A&E units in Gloucester and Cheltenham in August, while a further 2,474 waited at least four hours at Great Western Hospital just over the county border in Swindon.

Just 57 per cent of patients were seen within four hours at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which falls far below the NHS’s target and makes the county’s two A&E units some of the worst hospitals for such waiting times in the country.

A spokesperson from NHS Providers recently told a national newspaper that “demand continues to outstrip capacity’, adding how “shortages of staff, beds and equipment, as well as the need for proper investment in the NHS estate, social care, and more preventative support, are putting the health service under an alarming level of stress.”

But leading Liberal Democrat councillors in Gloucestershire are now calling for more investment in county health services and a long-term plan to fix the NHS and social care system.

Cotswold District Council l;eader Joe Harris (LD, St Michael’s) said the county has seen cuts to community hospitals over the past decade.

“With our population growing, we should be investing in community hospitals not cutting them so we can ease the pressure on our larger hospitals.”

The Conservative Government has blamed the pandemic for the worsening wait times, but the Lib Dems say their analysis shows that long delays have steadily been getting worse across the country since 2015.

Seven years ago, just 1,306 patients waited over 12 hours to be admitted to A&E in an emergency. This more than quadrupled to 8,270 in 2019, the year before the pandemic began.

A  Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust spokesperson said it continues to see very high numbers of patients across emergency departments in Cheltenham and Gloucester, with an average of almost 400 people every day using the service in August.

“We are disappointed that too many patients in Gloucestershire continue to experience long waits in our emergency departments and the trust has already significantly improved our facilities and expanded the emergency department in Gloucester,” a spokesperson said.

“We do urge everyone to consider the range of healthcare options available when they require urgent care. There are a number of alternative services people can use, including the ASAP Glos NHS App and website and, which will signpost people to the right care for them, including pharmacies and minor injury and illness units. The 111 phone service can also provide advice and book people into local NHS services if needed.”

“Our staff continue to work tirelessly to meet the needs of local people and that we can provide the kind of care and experience we all want for our patients.”