More than eight in 10 nurses warn that hospital patients are being put in danger due to overstretched A&E units according to a poll by The Royal College of Nursing. The poll of 416 staff was published on the same day that health bosses warned A&E units would be unable to cope with the surge in patients this winter unless urgent changes are made.

Eighty-nine per cent of nurses said the pressures had grown in the last six months due to rising numbers of patients and not enough staff. Eighty-five per cent said casualty units are so busy that patients were being put at risk - with 25 per cent saying patients were being put in danger every day.

Nurses admitted that patients are being left on trolleys in corridors, or even in offices, due to the severe shortages of beds and space.

It was also recorded that during the last winter spell, A&E services came under extreme pressure and the government's four-hour waiting time target was regularly breached at A&E departments across the UK.

If hospital staff shortages aren't addressed patients will suffer

Michael Burrell, a solicitor who specialises in medical negligence at Thompson Solicitors said: “These figures are extremely alarming, and as winter fast approaches, staffing levels at emergency departments are likely to become even more of a concern.

"A&E departments are the first port of call for people in urgent need of medical attention and their care and safety should be of the upmost importance.

“If staffing issues aren’t addressed immediately, we’re likely to see a worrying increase in patients suffering as a result of staff being overworked, exhausted and not having the ability to complete their jobs effectively.”