The Princess Alexandra Hospital Trust (PAHT) has been identified as having financial problems without an adequate recovery plan.
The Audit Commission listed PAHT, which serves Epping Forest, among 27 financially failing NHS trusts.
The Harlow hospital has been referred to health secretary Jeremy Hunt and will be under closer scrutiny until the issues are resolved.
The trust recorded a deficit of £16.5m in 2013/14 and has a planned deficit of £11.5m for 2014/15.
In a statement the trust said it had embarked on a “clinically-led turnaround and transformation programme” aimed at reducing the deficit.
The trust said the programme will see services “redesigned” and improvements made to “delivery and efficiency” without a reduction in the quality of care.
A PAHT spokeswoman added: “Our plans will build upon the achievements of last year, ensuring accessibility to services and high quality care is at the forefront of the trust’s commitments to local people. “
“Despite the financial challenge the plan includes significant investment in the recruitment of more nurses to deliver care to patients.”