The NHS faces significant challenges in the future but has performed well financially in the past year on the whole, the Audit Commission has concluded.
The commission discovered that most trusts were able to balance the books in 2010–11, but some received help in doing so.
Their report revealed that 16 trusts needed financial help to remain in the black, with some of the £90m needed diverted from underspending trust to those who had overspent.
Nine of the 276 NHS organisations in England audited were in deficit. Six of these are based in the south-east region.
Excluding foundation trusts, the NHS was able to match its last year surplus of £1.5bn this year, but 24% of NHS trusts and 12% of primary care trusts were given qualified value-for-money conclusions from auditors.
This means that these trusts had issue concerning weak financial management and planning, or simply needed financial support.