Just shy of £10m is being spent on more bed by the Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust to help cut its A&E waiting times.

In December last year the Harlow hospital recorded the worst waiting times of any emergency department in England.

While the trust was lifted out of special measures in March, it ended the year with only 71 per cent of people being seen by A&E doctors within four hours - well off the 95 per cent target.

After bed pressures were cited as a reason for the long emergency waits in the trust's annual report, the decision was made to spend £9.5m increasing the hospital's 497 bed capacity.

Lance McCarthy, chief executive of The Princess Alexandra Hospital Trust, said: “It is great news for local people that we have been successful in securing an additional £9.5m of capital monies for 2019/20 as part of the recent national capital allocation.

"This will be used to further improve and increase inpatient capacity of the PAHT site as we continue to expand and develop our facilities to meet the needs of our patients.”

The additional funds are part of a £39 million package for Hertfordshire and west Essex health services.

It includes £11m for emergency care transformation at West Herts Hospital Trust in Watford, £7,172,000 to create a Hertfordshire and west Essex vascular surgery network at the Lister Hospital in Stevenage, and £4,220,000 for a new renal dialysis unit in Luton which can treat more patients.

Deborah Fielding, chief executive of the Hertfordshire and west Essex Sustainability and Transformation Partnership, said: “I am really pleased that the importance of these schemes has been recognised at a national level.

"This investment will improve the care and treatment of hundreds of people across our area every day and make it easier for health care staff to deliver the high-quality services that patients need.”