Record numbers of patients spent more than four hours in accident and emergency units in England in January, leaked figures suggest.
Last month appears to be the worst performing month in the past 13 years.
The figures – leaked to the BBC – also suggest record numbers of people waited longer than 12 hours for a hospital bed once seen in A&E.
The figures come from a document compiled by NHS Improvement, and show that there were more than 1.4 million attendances at A&E during January.
82% of patients in A&E – rather than the target of 95% – were transferred, admitted or discharged within four hours.
More than than 60,000 people waited between four and 12 hours in A&E for a hospital bed, after a decision to admit, known as a “trolley wait”.
And more than 780 people waited for more than 12 hours for a bed
It comes as official NHS figures for December show that 86.2% of A&E patients in England were dealt with in under four hours
Dr Mark Porter, BMA chair of council, commented: “The NHS is doing more work than ever but remains underfunded for the work that it is called to do.
“When social care isn’t available, patients experience delays in moving from hospital to appropriate ongoing care settings – preventing patients being admitted at the front end in A&E. These trolley waits are a desperate sign of a system under too much pressure.
“The government have so far failed to grasp the seriousness of the situation. The PM cannot continue to bury her head in the sand as care continues to worsen. The government must urgently look at the long-term funding, capacity and recruitment issues facing the system as a whole if we are to get to grips with the pressures the NHS faces year in, year out, but which are compounded during the winter months.”
But a spokesman from the Department of Health said the vast majority of patients were seen and treated quickly, and the government had supported hospitals facing extra demand to the tune of £400 million of extra funding.