PATIENTS are experiencing long waits at A&E — and one family told the County Press their loved one spent more than 24 hours in St Mary's emergency department before being moved to a ward.

The family phoned in distress to say people were spending several hours sitting in discomfort in the waiting room before being treated.

The hospital admitted it had failed to meet the national operational standard that week, of at least 95 per cent of patients in A&E admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours.

One person spent 26 hours 39 minutes in A&E, the hospital confirmed.

Across the country, more than 1,000 people every day are waiting 12 hours or more in hospital A&E departments, according to a new report by the Royal College of Emergency Medicine.

A spokesperson for Isle of Wight NHS Trust said: “During the week of May 16, we unfortunately were unable to meet the national operational standard and patients were in our emergency department for over four hours.

"We apologise for any inconvenience and distress caused to people who had extended waits.

“Together with our local healthcare partners we are ensuring patients can be discharged home at the right time.

"This will help us increase the number of beds available and improve the waiting time."

During the week in question, visitors to St Mary’s A&E experienced an average wait time of 1 hour 8 minutes from arrival to being seen by a doctor (a maximum time of 5 hours 6 minutes).

There was an average wait of 3 hours 47 mins from the decision to admit, to admission (maximum time 20 hours 53 minutes).

Patients spent an average of 4 hours 51 minutes in A&E (maximum time 26 hours 39 minutes).

People should continue to use 999 if they have a serious or life-threatening condition or accident.

However, if patients think they need A&E, they should call NHS 111 or use NHS 111 online first, to make sure they are getting the right care in the right place.