Senior NHS managers in England have been warned they will have to find a further £20bn worth of savings as soon as the current spending round ends in 2015.
But David Stout, deputy chief executive of NHS Confederation, told the Today programme's Justin Webb that "the cost of healthcare will continue to rise but we do not know what the budget is going to be".
The NHS in England is already having to make savings of £20bn, equivalent to four per cent a year, within the next three years.
"We need some certainty going forward," Mr Stout said, adding they also needed "planning assumptions to get ready for this".
He noted that it is looking unlikely for healthcare budget to rise above inflation but insisted that "we can't plan on the basis of no assumption, 2015 isn't that far away".
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