NHS trusts are closing wards, delaying operations and withholding treatment in a bid to balance their books, says a survey of health chiefs today.
More than seven in 10 primary care trusts are restricting access to treatment, half are delaying operations and six out of 10 acute trusts are closing wards.
Almost eight in 10 acute, primary care and mental health trusts are operating recruitment freezes, while 47% have made or intend to make redundancies, it said.
The survey is for the Health Service Journal.
Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt - voted least popular health secretary in the last decade in the poll - has said the NHS will achieve financial balance this year.
Government figures last month showed that more than one in three hospitals and primary care trusts are still expected to record a deficit.
Today's survey was of 97 chief executives, from across 370 acute, primary and mental health trusts (a 26% response rate).