The launch of an investigation into accident and emergency waiting times at a Southampton hospital has “not surprised” the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).

Bosses at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust (UHS) are to face tough questions from health watchdog Monitor about why patients have persistently faced a long wait for treatment in recent months.

The RCN said that while it was “disappointed” about the news, it didn’t find it “surprising”. It first raised concerns over the increasing waiting times in A&E in April.

Monitor will investigate whether UHS has breached conditions of its licence after persistent breaches of the key A&E target to treat 95 per cent of patients within four hours raised concerns about the governance of the trust.

Di Francis, RCN officer, said: “Southampton is one of many A&E departments that are struggling with waiting times, a problem that can’t be blamed on one particular factor but is a combination of many.

“It is disappointing for the trust to be under scrutiny but not really of any surprise to us as we flagged these problems weeks ago. The RCN will continue to work with the trust and support nurses who are understandably feeling under pressure at this time.”

Hospital bosses said high demand for urgent care has seen the trust treat more than 300 patients a day in the emergency department, blaming an “extremely busy and prolonged winter” for putting resources under pressure.