A&E departments in Hampshire performed well below the national target last month.

According to new figures published by NHS England, just 84.4 per cent of patients were treated and then admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours. The national target is 95 per cent.

Also, one in seven patients waited longer than four hours before being seen.

Paula Ferguson, Liberal Democrat election candidate for Winchester and Chandler’s Ford said: “If you’re in agony, if you’re really worried - maybe you have a sick child in your arms - then four hours is an incredibly long time to wait. And we now know that many people aren’t even being seen within four hours.

“This isn’t the fault of A&E staff, who are doing their utmost with limited resources. This is down to this Conservative government consistently underfunding our NHS, year on year.

“There are already staff shortages in many departments. An extreme Brexit would make this worse by driving away the EU nurses and doctors the NHS desperately needs.”

The Liberal Democrats say they will invest an extra £35 billion in the NHS and develop a national recruitment strategy to “ensure we never again suffer shortages” of nurses, doctors and other health professionals.

Across England, only 84 per cent of patients were seen within four hours in A&E departments last month – a record low. The target was last met in July 2015.

The NHS is also performing at its worst-ever level on cancer care times and waits for operations.

Overall, a record 4.4 million patients are on the waiting list for cancer treatment, the figures show.

Health secretary Matt Hancock’s suggestion that the NHS was in many ways performing better than ever was branded “staggeringly out of touch” by his Labour counterpart.

Mr Hancock pointed to the rising number of patients needing treatment and said the number of operations carried out rose by seven per cent over the last 12 months.

He said: “In many ways, the NHS is performing better than it ever has. The challenge is that demand is increasing as well. The performance of the system is incredible.

“The people who are working in the NHS are doing a remarkable job. We are putting record amounts of funding in over the next four years. We have got record numbers of doctors and nurses, with more to come.”