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.