The NHS trust sector finished 2013-14 £241m in deficit, the NHS Trust Development Authority has confirmed.
The year-end position is substantially worse than the £76m net deficit planned at the start of the year.
In a paper presented to the TDA board last week, chief executive David Flory said that plans received from trusts for 2014-15 indicated its overall position for the sector was “likely to deteriorate further” this year.
Mr Flory cited “a squeeze on income as commissioning budgets tighten, and pressure on expenditure given the need to maintain and invest in the quality of services” as factors likely to cause the deterioration.
While the 26 trusts finishing last year in deficit was in line with the number the TDA predicted, six trusts with unplanned deficits largely accounted for the £165m variance from the forecast shortfall.
The combined value of the gross deficits of the 26 trusts was £460m. However, 76 trusts were able to break even or deliver a surplus, recording a combined gross surplus of £218m.
The financial strain was most evident among acute trusts, with 40 per cent ending the year in deficit while all community, mental health and ambulance trusts managed to break even or achieve a surplus.
The TDA attributed the deterioration in acute finances to an “unplanned reduction in total operating income… which was due to a combination of a net price deflator, a reduction in education and training funding and a commissioner rules-based approach resulting in decrease in non-recurring income this year compared to other years”.
The end-of-year financial position for the foundation trust sector will not be known until Monitor publishes its final quarterly report for 2013-14, which is expected to be early this summer.
A Department of Health spokeswoman said: “the NHS is performing well and we expect it to end this year in a balanced financial position overall.
“But we are very clear that deficits are unacceptable and must be tackled,” she added.
The DH’s final financial position for 2013-14 will be known in the summer.