According to data from NHS England, waiting lists for treatment are at a record high. The figures reveal 5.8 million people were waiting to start treatment at the end of September.

This is the highest number since records began in August 2007.

According to Press Association, health service leaders have warned the system is buckling under pressure.

The number of people having to wait more than 52 weeks to start treatment was a staggering 300,566 in September.

This is up from 292,138 in the previous month and more than double the number from a year earlier which saw 139,545 people waiting more than 52 weeks for treatment.

However, the data also reveals that the number of people admitted for routine treatment in hospitals is returning to pre-pandemic levels.

This comes as the NHS Confederation warned that hospitals are facing extreme pressure even before the full impact of winter hits.

It also warned ambulance trusts are failing to get to 999 calls on time, sometimes leaving people with no care for hours.

Figures from NHS England revealed the average response time to Category 2 calls, which include stroke and other emergencies, was more than 45 minutes in September, compared with a target average of 18 minutes.

Targets for Category 1 calls are also being missed according to the data, with the standard of an average of seven minutes missed, and an average response time in England of nine minutes and one second in September.

Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said a survey of more than 450 leaders across all parts of the health service found nine out of 10 said the situation they now face is “unsustainable” and patient care is being compromised.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme: “We’ve still got thousands of people in hospital with Covid. Hospitalisation rates have started to fall in the last few days, that’s good, but there are still many patients in hospital.

“Then we’ve got the normal winter pressures, and then you add the huge amount of pent-up demand that has built up during the pandemic.

“You put those three things together and you’ve got a situation which almost every leader in the health service now says is unsustainable.”