Health bosses are calling on people to get behind reforms planned for Lincolnshire's health services.
Earlier cuts to save money provoked an angry reaction
Trent Strategic Health Authority's chief executive Alan Burns said people need to be more positive about the changes in the county.
Despite financial support, the authority is overspending by £2.5m a month and its debts will peak at £35m. Bosses have said jobs will be axed.
Unions have already expressed concerns over the affect of cuts on services.
Mr Burns said: "If you think we are spending more money on healthcare to send more people to hospital, you misunderstand the problem.
"We are spending more money to send fewer people to hospital and we have to accept that simple knee-jerk reactions that defend the indefensible are not going to help find a sustainable future for the NHS in Lincolnshire."
But Nev Jackson, regional secretary of the union Amicus, said: "The public has a right to know how a predicted debt of £8m suddenly is transformed into £35m [debt].
"If the money is not going directly on patient care - then we need to know where it is being spent - and if it is being spent on measures that don't make a difference to the population of Lincolnshire, then we need to take drastic action."
A government "turnaround team" is examining ways of handling the trust's debt.
Mr Burns said it is more important to concentrate on long-term healthcare trends rather than "getting into a war over beds".