Overcrowded hospitals "killed 500" patients last year, a leading A&E doctor has told The Observer.
A study by the College of Emergency Medicine found that 350 deaths were caused by people not being treated fast enough, while another 150 who died were not admitted because of bed shortages.
Dr Clifford Mann, the college’s president, said: “It’s sobering that up to 500 patients a year die because too many of our emergency departments are too often overcrowded. It’s a cogent reminder to the people who run the NHS that overcrowded emergency departments are just unacceptable and dangerous."
The college said its estimates were based on international studies that show patients who arrive at emergency departments when hospitals are overcrowded are at greater risk of dying.
NHS England said: “Unprecedented numbers of patients are accessing services, and staff are dealing with the highest-ever number of 111 and ambulance calls, A&E attendances and emergency admissions."
It said it had put £700m into the NHS to fund an extra 700 doctors, 4,500 nurses and more than 3,000 24-hour GP services, 999, 111, A&E and community and social care services.
Ukip's general secretary Matthew Richardson has said the NHS costs too much money to run and is partly to blame for Britain's national debt, in a video released by the Labour party.
Mr Richardson is also reported to have gone on to say that Britain has "thousands of bigots" and Ukip is proud to stand up for them, according to The Sunday Times (£).
Talks aimed at averting next week's NHS strike have adjourned and will resume on Monday, unions have said.
Improvements in the number of people waiting four hours or less in A&E departments in England have been hailed as "encouraging" by NHS England.
NHS England's national director of commissioning operations, Dame Barbara Hakin, praised staff "for the excellent job they are doing."
For the second successive week there has been an improvement in A&E performance and we are seeing nine out of 10 patients in England within four hours. It is encouraging that performance is moving in the right direction.
Meanwhile, the NHS 111 phone line took 234,000 calls for the week ending 18th January, down from 255,000 the previous week and a dramatic reduction on the peak of 439,000 for the week ending 28th December.
The number of people waiting four hours or less in A&E units in England has improved slightly according to figures released by NHS England.
The target for A&E admissions being seen within four hours is 95% but last week 92.4% people were seen within the time frame compared with 89.8% in the previous week.
Overall the NHS in England also experienced slightly lower levels of attendance this week with 377,000 patients attending A&E - down from 389,400 the previous week.
NHS England's National Director of Commissioning Operations, Dame Barbara Hakin, described the figures as "encouraging" but said frontline health services continue to face "huge pressures".
The GMB union has issued formal notice of a strike by health workers planned for 29th January.
It comes as union officials return to talks with the Government later today aimed at averting industrial action.
GMB said it had served NHS employers in England and Northern Ireland with the necessary information about the stoppage involving hospital and ambulance workers.
Ambulance members of the union will strike for 24 hours from 0001, while other health workers will take action for 12 hours from midday.
Members of Unison and Unite are also set to go on strike on the same day.
An independent report by The King's Fund has identified pressures in a number of areas of hospitals - not just in emergency departments.Read the full story ›
The Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt will today chair a meeting of the Government's emergency Cobra committee to put in place contingency plans for an NHS strike.
Talks between union leaders and the Health Department aimed at averting the industrial action are set to continue on Friday.
News of the Cobra meeting came within hours of the talks being adjourned on Wednesday evening.
Health workers across England and Northern Ireland are due to go on strike next Thursday, January 29, in a dispute over pay rises.
Crucial talks being held today in a last-ditch bid to avert a strike by thousands of NHS workers in a bitter dispute over pay.
Today's talks were arranged after a meeting last night between Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt and officials from several unions.
The industrial action in England and Northern Ireland is still planned for January 29 as unions continue to criticise the Government for refusing to accept a recommended 1% pay rise for all NHS staff.