A BARNSLEY MP has criticised the government for cutting nurses and putting patients’ lives at risk.

Michael Dugher was commenting after new figures show that the Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust A&E unit is struggling and has consistently missed its waiting time targets over the last six months.

Staffing shortages across the NHS have left A&E departments overstretched and under severe pressure.

Yorkshire has lost 1,224 nurses since May 2010 and data published by the new NHS England body shows that the target of 95 per cent of patients being seen within four hours has been missed by the A&E unit at Barnsley Hospital in 24 of the last 26 weeks, with a total of 3,535 people having to wait more than four hours before being seen.

In October 2012, 96 per cent of people were being seen within four hours at the A&E unit at Barnsley Hospital. This has now dropped to just 89 per cent.

"What's happening at the A&E unit at Barnsley Hospital is a real worry," said the Barnsley East MP.

"Patients should not be subjected to poor care because of the government’s failings.

"They need to come up with an urgent plan to bring all A&Es up to the required standard and ensure there are enough staff on the ground across the NHS to provide the safe care we need."