Doctors have revealed “grave concerns” over how the NHS will cope this winter as services are put under further pressure.
NHS performance figures show there were just under two million attendances to A&E departments during August, down on the 2.2m seen a month before.
But Dr Nick Scriven, a Calderdale doctor and President of the Society for Acute Medicine, said they still show the “system is under more pressure than ever before”.
The figures show 89.7 per cent of A&E patients were seen within four hours, with 39,350 patients having to wait longer from the decision to admit them to admission, and 156 patients forced to wait longer than 12 hours.
Dr Scriven said: “As we move closer to winter, there are grave concerns as to the ability of the NHS to cope.
An NHS England spokesman said: “Minor injuries have fuelled a significant rise in A&E visits over the last decade yet against this backdrop.
“With pressures increased by the hottest summer on record, hard-working NHS staff saw, treated and discharged or admitted 50,000 more patients within four hours last month than August last year.”
Health experts have also raised concerns after official figures showed cancer waiting time performance hit a record low in July.
Some 78.2 per cent of patients given an urgent referral by their GP started treatment within 62 days in July.
The target is 85 per cent. Tom Sandford, of the Royal College Of Nursing, said: “This bald statistic represents untold stress and misery for thousands of patients and their families,” he said.