Healthcare think tank the King’s Fund has warned that NHS trusts in England could have a deficit of £2.3 billion by the end of the year.

The think tank’s latest Quarterly Monitoring Report found that, more than two thirds of trusts (67 percent) and 9 out of 10 (89 percent) acute hospitals are forecasting a deficit at the end of 2015/16, while nearly two-thirds (64 per cent) of trusts are reliant on extra financial support from the Department of Health or drawing down their reserves.

Meanwhile, for the first time since the survey began in 2011, more than half of trust finance directors (53 percent) said that quality of care in their local area has worsened in the past year.

The King’s Fund says the estimate of a £2.3 billion deficit comes as NHS national bodies are imposing stringent financial controls to try and reduce the deficit to £1.8 billion by the end of the financial year.

“This underlines the risk that the Department of Health will breach parliamentary protocol by overspending its budget,” the report adds.