The Department of Health has paid £1.2 billion in the last year in bailouts to help struggling NHS organisations, an investigation has found.
The figure for 2014/15 is to pay wages and creditors, replace ageing equipment and cut deficits, according to analysis by the Health Service Journal (HSJ).
The figure is around double that paid out by the department in the previous year, it said.
More than a third of the acute sector was dependent on bailouts in 2014/15, up from around a quarter the previous year.
A dozen NHS trusts received support worth more than 10% of their annual income.
Three trusts received bailouts totalling more than £50 million each, the HSJ reported.
King's Fund policy director Richard Murray, a former senior analyst and economist for the Department of Health, told the HSJ the figures were "horrific".
He said: "It just strikes me again how much the payment system in the NHS looks fundamentally broken - if you've got this many (providers) now reliant on an alternative source of funding to their commissioners."