NHS struggling to open extra winter beds and fill staffing gaps
The warning came after the Treasury rejected pleas for an extra £1bn to cover the cost of strikes.
Recruitment to plug gaps in the workforce was also having to be put on hold, NHS Providers said.
But the government says winter planning is on track and pointed out the goal to open 10,000 “virtual” hospital beds had been met.
This is where doctors remotely monitor patients with conditions such as respiratory and heart problems who would otherwise have to be in hospital.
Progress was also being made on opening 5,000 new permanent hospital beds – a 5% increase in numbers, the government said.
“We recognise the challenges the NHS faces over the coming months, which is why we started preparing for winter earlier than ever,” a Department of Health and Social Care spokesman added.