More than 250 people were forced to wait 12 hours or more to be admitted, transferred or discharged at accident and emergency departments last month, the latest figures show.

More than 54,000 people had to wait longer than four hours in November, meaning just 87.6% of patients were seen within the target time – the lowest proportion since March.

The performance statistics released by NHS England show there were 2.04 million attendances last month – fewer than the 2.08 million seen in October.

Patients at A&Es in England waiting over four hours between decision to admit and admission(PA Graphics)

But more people had to wait longer, with 258 patients waiting more than 12 hours from decision to admit to admission, while 54,373 had to wait longer than four hours.

Labour’s shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said the statistics were “hugely concerning figures that don’t bode well for the difficult months ahead”.

He added: “While Government remains paralysed by Brexit infighting, the NHS is struggling as a result of years of underfunding, cuts and staffing shortages.

“Rather than their self-interest, Tory ministers must start prioritising patients’ interests by outlining proposals for the NHS this winter.

“It would be totally unforgivable if patients suffered another winter crisis like the ones we’ve seen in recent years.

“Patients will expect the imminent NHS plan to have a clear and credible solution to chronic understaffing and a road map for restoring performance that has deteriorated so unacceptably in recent years.”

The figures for November come after health leaders warned this winter could see hundreds of thousands of patients stranded in cramped corridors on hospital trolleys waiting for a bed.

Dr Rob Harwood, chairman of the British Medical Association’s consultant committee, said last week that this winter “could be the worst on record” for emergency departments, predicting a rise in the number of A&E attendances, longer waits and more people needing hospital admissions.

The doctors’ union said that in order to keep bed occupancy at safe levels over winter, hospitals need to boost capacity.

An NHS spokesman said: “NHS staff continue to work hard to deal with increased demand across the board, seeing 1,000 more people within four hours in A&E every day in November compared to last year.

“A growing proportion of people are getting same day emergency care which prevents the need for an overnight stay, and hospitals have freed up an additional 742 beds by working closely with councils to help more people return home with the right care in place.

“As the colder weather begins to set in it’s vital that the NHS and local authorities continue to work together to help people stay well and out of hospital wherever possible, and the public can also help the NHS staff by making sure they have their free NHS flu jab if eligible, and by using NHS 111 as their first port of call for non-emergencies.”