Accident & Emergency waiting times were the worst on record last month, as high flu levels and the Beast from the East wreaked havoc.
NHS England data shows that just 85 per cent of patients waited less than four hours from arrival in all of England's A&Es. And in major casualty units, the figure was just 76.9 per cent.
Ian Dalton, Chief Executive of NHS Improvement said: “These figures show the continued and unprecedented pressure facing NHS services. Staff have coped with substantial growth in demand for emergency care during the month of February, alongside a spike in flu cases.
“In this difficult context, the fact that around 30,000 more patients were treated, admitted or discharged within four hours in February compared to the same month last year is a testament to enormous hard work by NHS staff.
"More patients also completed elective pathways over the last 12 months compared to the same period last year. Nonetheless, there is a clear need to increase performance against national standards and we are working with hospitals to help them achieve this.”
Dr Sue Crossland, vice-president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said: “This winter has had an immense impact on the wellbeing and long term resilience of the core blood of the NHS - its staff - and the true cost of their incredible efforts may not be known for a long time.
“Staff will be tired, worn out and, unless the NHS leadership and management is careful, will feel that all their efforts have not been recognised in any tangible fashion."