The NHS has seen a dramatic drop in its numbers in the past year, with some 4.5 million people unable to access care in the UK.
However, it appears that the numbers have returned to their previous peak, according to a new report from the Centre for Health and Policy at the University of Leeds.
The report was published in the British Medical Journal.
Dr James Hughes, a research fellow in the Centre’s Health and Population Studies department, told the BBC that the NHS is experiencing a major problem.
He told the programme that the figures are worrying because many of the people who need care are not in the most dire situations.
“The NHS is seeing the worst of the crisis,” Dr Hughes said.
“They have a very limited capacity, and they’re seeing a huge drop in numbers in many cases.”
The report also said that the number of people who were referred to the NHS from other countries is also dropping, with the number declining by 8% in the last year alone.
The number of emergency rooms is also down, as is the number treated for people who are unable to get their GP or hospital appointments.
The biggest increase in numbers was seen in those aged 65 and over.
The NHS’s total number of patients has dropped by 8.4% in just a year, according the report.
The charity CareFirst said that they were very concerned by the situation, with its chief executive, Chris Hoggart, warning that the health service was on the brink of a “crisis”.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that they are “very concerned about the NHS’s ability to respond”.
“We’re seeing more people dying, more people with complex conditions, and the need for care in this country is not going to go away,” Mr Hoggar said.
In May, a new analysis from the charity found that the government had spent nearly £1.8bn on care and support in 2016-17, with just under £1bn spent on care.
The organisation also found that people in the poorest 10% of the population are the least likely to get help in times of crisis.
The figures also showed that almost 40% of all people aged over 60, and nearly 25% of people aged 65 or over, have received NHS support in the year to the end of March.