Thousands of injured and ill people are forced to wait in the back of ambulances because emergency departments are too busy, figures reveal.
One patient was stuck waiting in a vehicle for one-and-three-quarter hours at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary last March.
Calderdale and Huddersfield hospitals are tasked with taking all patients that arrive in ambulances at A&E within 15 minutes and delays of more than 30 minutes can trigger fines.
But paramedics are only allowed to hand patients over to hospitals when staff there can take charge of them.
Hospital chiefs insist things are improving and pledged to make standards even higher.
A report of performance in 2013/14 shows more than 4,600 breaches of the guidelines across Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust’s two hospitals – the majority at Huddersfield.
Most ambulances were able to transfer their patients within the 15 minute target.
At HRI a total of 12,910 took place within the allocated time.
But 2,725 took up to half an hour, a further 440 up to an hour and 19 were longer than an hour.
Figures provided by the Trust under Freedom of Information law show four incidents of waits longer than an hour-and-a-half.
A Yorkshire Ambulance Service paramedic source told The Examiner efforts had been made to improve performance but the problem was still there.
The source said: “They’ve spent hundreds of thousands on something called a ‘turnaround collaborative’.
“They’ve also spent a fortune installing a system with buttons on the door of every ambulance, every hospital and at the desk of every A&E nurse, and they plan to expand it to other wards.
“The paramedics have to press it when they move the patient out of the ambulance and when they’re free to go the nurses press another to clear them.”
Calderdale Royal Hospital (CRH) had far fewer patients waiting longer than the 15 minute target.
The Halifax based hospital had more attendances than HRI but only 1,470 breached the target – less than half the level of HRI’s – with just five taking marginally over an hour.
The problem of ambulances having to queue at A&E departments has been reported across the country with the worst case in Wales where a patient was left for six hours and 22 minutes.
Carol McKenna, Chief Officer for Greater Huddersfield Clinical Commissioning Group said: “We have already seen steady and sustained improvement in both “handover” and “clear” times performance at both hospitals in the area thanks to improvements made by the Trust and Yorkshire Ambulance Service in recent months.
“In May ambulance “handover to clear” times within 15 minutes were measured at 83.3% at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary (HRI) and 83.7% at Calderdale Royal Hospital (CRH).
“Both ourselves and The Trust are keen to ensure that any instances where patients wait longer than 15 minutes are eliminated wherever possible.
“As part of this process, an action plan has also been put in place by the Trust to provide enhanced training for staff, changes in procedure and improved access to IT.”