The NHS faces a financial crisis as funding has been "stretched to the limit", an influential think-tank warned. The King's Fund warned of "huge pressures" on the NHS budget after 25% of hospital trust finance directors said they expected to overspend this year.
The Government has dismissed a bleak report into NHS finances and insisted it has spent enough on the health service to make it "sustainable in the long-term".
A Department of Health spokeswoman said:
Pessimistic predictions of this type are nothing new, but we know that the NHS remains stable.
Some parts of the system are under pressure due to an unprecedented rise in demand - which is why we have taken tough decisions to increase the NHS budget by £12.7 billion over this Parliament, and are ensuring the NHS is sustainable in the long-term.
A look into NHS finances has found a "service under huge pressure", according to one of the report authors.
John Appleby, chief economist at the think-tank, explained:
Our latest quarterly report paints a picture of a service under huge pressure, with cracks beginning to appear in NHS performance.
It once again underlines the need for new funding if services are to be maintained.
The increase in the nursing workforce signals a very welcome commitment to improving care, although it remains to be seen whether hospitals will be able to sustain current staffing levels when money becomes tighter later in the year.
The disparity in the plans of providers and commissioners points to a worrying mismatch between activity and funding, which could have serious financial consequences.