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Increase in NHS Trusts' deficit.

NHS Trusts in England ran up a total deficit of £822m in 2014-15, compared with £115m the previous year, according to a report for health regulator, Monitor.

A report shows that, as part of this, Foundation Trusts spent £1.8bn on contract and agency staff - more than double the amount planned.

The figures also show that Foundation Trusts, England’s leading health trusts, ran up a deficit of £349m, compared with a planned deficit of £10m, while other health trusts were £473m in the red.

After release of the figures, The Department of Health said trusts needed to get better at balancing the books.

However Monitor said figures for this financial year were likely to be even worse.

Foundation trusts run some hospitals, ambulance and mental health services, but are not controlled by central government. They make up around two-thirds of all trusts in England.

The report carried out for the regulator found that of the 152 foundation trusts, half ended the year in deficit - and 70% of these were acute trusts. Also, the waiting list for routine operations at foundation trusts was nearly 1.8m, an 8.3% increase on 2013-14.

Monitor assesses NHS Trusts before they can become NHS Foundation Trusts, making sure they are well led so they can deliver quality care.

Monitor chief executive, Dr David Bennett, said: "The last financial year was exceptionally challenging for the Foundation Trust sector and the current one is following the same pattern.

"The sector can no longer afford to operate on a ‘business-as-usual’ basis, and we all need to redouble our efforts to deliver substantial efficiency gains to ensure patients get the services they need.

"This will no doubt involve some significant changes to the way people work at some institutions, but as regulator, we believe there is scope for more to be done at a number of levels without compromising patient care."

Mr Bennett added that it was right that, in difficult circumstances, agency staff were being used to ensure patients always received quality care but he said that trusts needed to act to "reduce their over-reliance" on such staff.