NHS bosses have asked the government for billions more to cope with a winter coronavirus surge and a backlog.
Health chiefs have implored Chancellor Rishi Sunak to inject £5bn more into the service to help it cope with the aftermath of the pandemic.
In talks, the Treasury has been accused of working from “fantasy” figures about how much the service can do without more funding, The Times reported.
NHS leaders have warned of a “frighteningly large” shortfall and asked for £10bn more in the budget for 2022-23.
There are fears thousands of beds will have to be dedicated to Covid patients through the winter.
There are now 5,880 coronavirus patients in English hospitals, 13 times as many as at the end of August last year.
Sunak may outline a three-year spending deal for the NHS as soon as next week, although the spending review is not expected until late October.
“We are committed to making sure the NHS has everything it needs to continue providing excellent care as we tackle the backlogs that have built up,” a spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care said.
“This year alone we have provided a further £29bn to support health and care services, including an extra £1bn to tackle the backlog.”