A&E departments in England saw 2.24 million attendances in May – the third highest total since records began – despite three bank holidays.
According to new NHS England data, emergency departments saw 4,500 more patients per day last month compared to April, the month before.
And ambulance crews attended 624,092 face-to-face call outs in the month of May, the highest total since May the year before (632,625).
NHS England said the near-record high demand came after the busiest winter ever for the NHS, adding that the month saw three bank holiday weekends which often see more people present for emergency care.
Despite growing demand across the system, NHS staff provided elective treatment to 1.2 million people in April.
And more than 2.8 million people were referred for urgent cancer checks by their GP in the year to April 2023, compared to 2,6 million the previous year.
In that same year, 327,312 people started treatment for cancer compared to 321,144 on the year before.
Community Diagnostic Centres have delivered more than 4 million checks and scans in local areas over the last year, contributing to a total of 24.6 million carried out between May 2022 and April 2023.
Waits for elective care also dropped from 14.1 weeks to 13.8 weeks.
Professor Sir Stephen Powis, NHS national medical director, said: ‘Despite the NHS continuing to see high levels of demand across urgent and emergency care, hard-working staff are continuing to deliver improvements as set out in our urgent and emergency recovery plan.
‘Even as hospitals dealt with the most disruptive industrial action in its history, average waits for people on the waiting list dropped to just under 14 weeks – the lowest it’s been since before winter.
‘We knew the overall waiting list would continue to increase for a time as people who may have put off coming forward for care over the past few years of the pandemic sought help, and that demand would be reflected in other areas as well – today’s data shows another record 12 months for cancer treatment and referrals, with more than ever before getting checked and starting treatment. We continue to urge people to come forward because the earlier cancer is detected, the easier it is to treat.’