Patients awaiting routine operations in Warwickshire could face delays as a primary care trust revealed it must claw back a £10.7 million shortfall within three months.
Coventry Teaching Primary Care Trust has predicted it would break even by the end of the 2005/06 financial year but next week trust bosses will consider proposals for tackling its forecast debts.
The PCT is also planning a non-replacement of staff programme to cover 60 existing vacancies, although it is believed medically essential roles such as GPs and district nurses will continue to be recruited.
Health bosses claim no redundancies are planned, instead they hope to make savings by ensuring staff work more efficiently.
Stephen Jones, the PCT's joint chief executive, said: "One of the problems is more people are going into hospital more quickly, so we've had to pay the hospitals more than we budgeted for this year.
"We may have to consider delaying some operations, as there are some procedures are performed within four months, so we may have to look at doing these within six months - to meet budgetary and NHS targets. We're also seeing if hospitals will need to be paid for operations this year or if we can pay them in 2006/07.
"However we don't want any plans to impact on patient care, that remains paramount, so everybody in Coventry will get their operations."
Earlier this week it was revealed University Hospital of North Staffordshire had to postpone routine procedures such as hernias and tonsillectomies - which were being performed within eight weeks - because North Stoke Primary Care Trust had to reduce its year-end deficit.
The PCT opted to make patients wait six months for these operations, to ensure its spread out the cost as well as meet NHS deadlines for inpatient treatment.
Coventry tPCT - which has a budget of £400 million for 2005/06 - aims to save £10.7 million between now and March by reviewing budgets, using reserve funds and making more effective use of community services.
Mr Jones added: "As one of the chief executives I'm more than aware that there is a tight window of opportunity in which to do this.
"We will be talking to all our frontline clinical staff to find out what's important to them.
"It is a challenging plan for us but I think we can achieve this." A recovery plan will be put to the tPCT's board of directors on Tuesday before any of the proposals can be put into action.
Danielle Cecchini, director of finance, said: "The purpose of the recovery plan is to ensure that we are not overspent at the end of the financial year. It is important to recognise that we are not currently in debt but if we continue without a financial recovery plan then we would be by the end of March."
Coventry tPCT is directly responsible for providing various services across the city including GP out of hours cover, mental health, speech and language therapy, physiotherapy, sexual health, dental, palliative care and family health.