Between 2013 and 2014, 65 hospital trusts overspent on their budgets by a total of £767m, more than double the previous year's total, according to government figures.

The increased overspend across NHS trusts is being put down to extra resources and staff required to cope with the rapidly growing number of patients requiring care in the UK.

The Stafford hospital response has increased staffing pressures, when last week the government announced that safe nursing levels will be introduced in England, in response to the scandal. Whilst hospitals can currently set their own nursing levels, new non-compulsory guidelines, will have more than eight patients to one nurse triggering a 'red flag' warning. 

Incredibly, while the NHS is facing budgetary and staffing pressures, the government continues to invest in outsourced contracts. Last year, £10.02bn worth of NHS funding was spent on healthcare from non-NHS bodies, including private companies, prompting concerns over the 'privatisation' of the NHS.

Andy Burnham, the shadow health secretary, said:

"People will question how David Cameron has been able to find more money and contracts for the private sector at a time when NHS services are struggling and being cut back."

Linda Millband, a specialist clinical negligence solicitor at Thompsons Solicitors' Nottingham office, commented:

"These figures raise serious concerns about the way this government is funding the NHS.

"While NHS Trusts' budgets are being overstretched, creating undue pressure on staff and services, how can the government possibly continue to spend money with private healthcare providers?

"Overspending in the NHS has rapidly increased year-on-year, and these figures show the strain the institution is facing as patient levels continue to grow.

"From our work with victims of clinical negligence, we all too often see the results of poorly resourced hospitals running on overworked staff. Private healthcare absorbed a significant sum of NHS funding last year, and it is imperative that the government addresses this funding imbalance. Investment should be in our national healthcare service, to adequately support staff and safeguard patients."