BARNSLEY Hospital is struggling to meet targets for waiting times in its accident and emergency department and is in danger of falling into 'special measures'.

Currently, 95 per cent of people who attend the department should be seen within four hours. But this target has been missed for the last six months.

If the hospital does not meet the target at the end of June, it could be asked to introduce special performance measures by Monitor, the independent regulatory board.

Monitor's rating system consists of red, amber and green ratings - green being the best.

David Peverelle, chief operating officer at the hospital, said: "If we don't achieve 95 per cent, we will not have have achieved it for three consecutive quarters and that's when the rating might change to red.

"We are currently amber-green, but if it goes into red they might require us to be under special performance measures. We need to work to achieve the target before the end of June."

David said the sheer number of people attending the emergency department was the main cause.

Between 2012/2013, 80,158 people attended - an increase of more than 2,000 than in 2011/12 and more than 5,000 than in 2010/11.

David said more elderly people with complex needs were visiting the department and that on one icy day, 360 people had attended - 90 of which were admitted.

"I think we are going to struggle but we're doing everything we can to rectify that," he added. "It really depends on how many patients turn up."