Responding to the Royal College of Emergency Medicine's winter flow data, Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said:
"We have to find ways of reducing the demand on our emergency departments – this survey is further evidence of the colossal pressures on staff and the real suffering of thousands of patients. It is small wonder that most leaders say this will be the worst winter ever.
"And the way we measure performance is not right either. Two in three health leaders say the current measures are not ‘fit for purpose’.
"If we want a health service that can cope, we need new services in the community that will relieve the pressure on hospitals as well as action on staffing, social care, and capital investment."