The pressures on A&E departments are "growing" leaving the service "closer to the cliff edge", the NHS Confederation chief executive has warned.
Mike Farrar said: "Like many hard-working frontline staff in the NHS, we have been ringing the alarm bells about urgent care services struggling to meet the demands of patients.
"The recent headlines do not lie – the pressures are growing and we are getting closer and closer to the cliff edge.
"In the last ten years, emergency admissions through A&E have increased by 51 per cent; that's an extra 1.25 million more patients going in to hospital on an unplanned basis.
"If we continue with this trend, we will see another extra half a million patients cramming into our A&E department in the next three years. This will be simply impossible for our hospital services to cope with, despite the heroic efforts of staff to date."
More top news
Big celebrations for one couple and their families after they got married - in a busy shopping centre !
Justin Timberlake has confirmed he and his wife Jessica Biel are expecting their first child together.
Donations for a frail and visually impaired pensioner who was attacked outside his home have passed £200,000.