The Northampton General Hospital chief executive has apologised to patients for long waits for treatment.
But Dr Sonia Swart says that the hospital is faced with trying to ease the issue with severely limited funds.
In her column in the hospital’s internal magazine, Insight, she says: “We are really sorry for the upset that long waits have caused our patients, and we’re trying to deal with this issue without spending any more money.
“Money is a big problem for us and for the whole NHS, and going into more deficit is not an option.
“We have done the best we can to ensure adequate funding but there is absolutely no doubt that next year will be the most difficult yet on this front.”
Latest finance figures show NGH is £31 million in deficit and, like every NHS trust, it has been ordered to make savings of five per cent each year.
Hospital bosses have struggled to reduce waits because recovering patients often have no community bed to go to.
It has put various schemes in place but further improvements would now have to be paid for by NHS Nene.