A total of 5.98 million people were waiting to start treatment at the end of October 2021, according to figures from NHS England published on Thursday.
This is the highest number since records began in August 2007.
The number of people having to wait more than 52 weeks to start treatment stood at 312,665 in October 2021, up from 300,566 in the previous month and nearly double the number waiting a year earlier, in October 2020, which was 167,067.
Meanwhile, attendances at hospital A&E departments in England last month were 37 per cent higher than a year ago.
However this reflects lower-than-usual numbers for November 2020, which were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
A total of 2.0 million attendances were recorded in November 2021, up from 1.5 million in November 2020.
The equivalent figure for November 2019, a non-pandemic year, was 2.1 million.
A total of 16,225 people in England were waiting more than two years to start routine hospital treatment at the end of October 2021.
This is up from 12,491 at the end of September and is around six times the 2,722 people who were waiting longer than two years in April.
NHS England has told hospitals to eliminate all waits of more than two years by March 2022.
Meanwhile, the number of people having to wait more than 12 hours in A&E departments last month from a decision to admit to actually being admitted has risen to a new record high of 10,646.
The figure is up from 7,059 in October and is the highest for any calendar month since records began in August 2010.
Some 120,749 people waited at least four hours from the decision to admit to admission in November, down very slightly on the 121,251 in October.