Thirty-one trusts received bailout payments in 2011-12, information released to HSJ under the Freedom of Information Act reveals.

The Department of Health data shows a mixture of hospital, foundation, mental health and learning disability trusts were bailed out, receiving a total of £414m in the last financial year. This was nearly double the total for 2010-11.

The figures cover a mixture of loans agreed by the department, plus local financial support direct fromprimary care trusts.

A DH source said some of the total was money agreed by the department for trusts unable to cope with their private finance initiative commitments, with another part of it covering trusts which needed loans to improve their cash positions for a foundation trust application..

The source said University Hospital Southampton Foundation Trust, authorised in October last year, and the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust, which the figures reveal received £4m in 2011-12, fell into that category.

The Foundation Trust Network said it did not consider the payments a “lowering of the bar” for attaining foundation status.

Chief executive Sue Slipman said: “One-off temporary support may be necessary to sort out impediments to becoming a foundation trust such as resolving a financial legacy or enabling trusts to carry out service redesign to be viable in the longer term.”

Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust has received £16.2m in local support since 2009-10, with £6.5m of that coming in 2011-12. A spokesman said: “We have been going through a process of transitional and transformational change and requested some financial support to help us do this.

“We started the year with a £14.4m recurring deficit and ended it in recurring financial balance for the first time ever.”

South London Healthcare Trust has received £168.7m over the past three years, with £79.2m of that in 2011-12. Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust has received £195.2m over the past six years, £55.2m of that in 2011-12.

The figures do not include bailouts authorised by strategic health authorities and paid for by a 2 per cent topslice of PCT budgets.