PERFORMANCE: Monitor has opened an investigation into accident and emergency and cancer referral waiting times at York Teaching Hospital Foundation Trust.

The move comes after trust failed to meet the quarterly A&E waiting time target for the fifth time in almost two years.

Monitor said there was also “evidence that some patients are waiting too long to be seen once referred for cancer treatment”.

In a statement, the regulator said that “repeated failure to ensure patients are seen quickly enough could indicate wider problems” at the trust. It voiced concerns that the trust’s existing improvement plans had “taken too long to fix these serious issues”.

Monitor regional director for the north Frances Shattock said: “It is simply not acceptable for patients to be waiting too long in A&E or to be seen following a cancer referral.

“That’s why we are opening an investigation to understand the issues and, if necessary, make sure the trust makes urgent improvements on behalf of its patients.”

Trust chief executive Patrick Crowley said: “The difficulties in A&E are well documented, and in many ways this action by Monitor is inevitable given the pressures we are facing.”

He added: “There needs to be a recognition that this is a whole-system issue and not one that can only be resolved through changes in either A&E or the wider acute pathway within our hospitals.

“We of course have a responsibility to play our part in solving the problem, and we are making investments… and trying new ways of working to improve the way that patients move through the system.”