Frances Reid, 55, is one of many patients to have faced a long wait.
She said she was left in "excruciating" pain waiting for a hip replacement.
Ms Reid, from South Cambridgeshire, was referred for surgery in January 2018, after struggling for the previous two years with hip pain.
She should have been seen in April 2018, but waited until July for her surgery.
The NHS ended up paying for her to be treated at a private unit because of the wait.
"The final weeks were really difficult," she says.
"I was waking up six, seven times a night and had to use walking sticks to get around.
"Daily tasks like shopping became very difficult."
Health leaders fear for NHS
Dr Nick Scriven, of the Society of Acute Medicine, said: "These figures are truly worrying as we haven't even reached the 'traditional' winter period yet."
He said urgent action was needed, warning the system was "imploding".
British Medical Association leader Dr Chaand Nagpaul said the NHS was facing a "catastrophe".
"This is completely unfair for patients and staff."
But Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, which represents health managers, tweeted senior staff should be more careful with the language they used, criticising the use of imploding in particular.
However, he admitted he was worried about the "huge pressure" on the system at this point before the full onset of winter.
NHS England conceded hospitals were under pressure, seeing "more older and sicker patients".
A spokesman said, with winter coming, hospitals would be opening extra beds.
But he urged the public to play their part by getting the flu jab and using the 111 phone line and NHS online services "as first port of call for non-emergencies".