Two thirds of nurses in NHS organisations across the West Midlands say trust deficits are hitting patient services and leading to more redundancies.
A similar number (67 per cent) reported their trust had stopped using nurse bank and agency staff to cover shortages, while a third claimed patient treatments were being delayed in order to save money.
Hospitals across the Midlands, including Good Hope Hospital in Sutton Coldfield which faces a £47.5 million deficit, have debts totalling nearly £103 million.
Other trusts facing multi-million pound debts include University Hospital of North Staffordshire (£18.1 million), Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals (£10.1 million), Shrews-bury and Telford Hospitals (£10 million), and Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals (£5.1 million).
A survey of nurses across the region, conducted by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), revealed specialist areas such as cancer care, infection control and sexual health are also being hit.
Forty-two per cent reported their trusts were deleting posts, in a bid to improve their finances, while 77 per cent said a recruitment freeze had been implemented.
Nearly half (48 per cent) said wards had been closed within their own hospital, while 38 per cent said other patient services were being closed to help trusts achieve financial balance.
The figures were published yesterday following a poll of 1,000 RCN members across the country between February 1 to February 7. The RCN began tracking the level of deficits and the impact on staff and services last year.
Trusts' actions, including deleting posts and postponing patient treatments, to balance the books are now having a direct and detrimental affect on patients and staff, according to the survey.
Ann Leedham-Smith, the RCN's West Midlands regional director, said: "Nurses across the region are telling us that patients are suffering and nursing posts are being lost as trusts struggle to balance the books." ..SUPL: