ALMOST one in five local hospital services are consistently failing to hit any of their key waiting-time targets, BBC analysis shows.
Twenty-nine hospital trusts and boards out of 157 have not hit a single target for a whole year.
Northern Ireland is struggling the most – all five trusts have failed their key targets for A&E, cancer and routine operations every time in 2017-18.
NHS leaders said the NHS was facing a very difficult winter.
Dame Donna Kinnair, of the Royal College of Nursing, said the NHS was going into the coming months “on the back foot”.
She said research by the RCN showed hospitals were facing a shortage of both beds and staff – with images of “patients waiting on trolleys in corridors” becoming all too common.