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10,000 NHS jobs to be cut

Around 10,000 NHS jobs are to be cut despite government promises to protect front line health services, the Royal College of Nursing has found

Around 10,000 NHS jobs are to be cut despite promises from the government that front line health services will be protected, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has found.

The data was compiled as part of the RCN's campaign to encourage its members to come forward with information about jobs that are under threat, wasteful use of NHS resources and ways in which nurses have saved money.

Figures from 100 NHS organisations in England suggest that 9,973 posts have been lost or are due to be cut through redundancies, recruitment freezes and not replacing retirees. This is the equivalent of 47 jobs being axed a day over a six month period.

This figure has increased from the 5,600 identified in April, when data from just 25 trusts had been received. It is feared that the true scale is far greater as there are 400 trusts across England.

Dr Peter Carter, general secretary and chief executive of the RCN said trusts were adopting a "slash and burn approach" to jobs that will have a disastrous effect on the quality of care provided and the range of treatments available.

"Frontline staff know where the efficiencies can be made and trusts should therefore engage with staff to ensure better care," he said.

The news comes despite the coalition government's pledge to protect front-line services and ring-fence the health budget, amid planned cuts of up to 40 per cent in other departments. It is, however, seeking to make efficiency savings worth £20bn by 2014.

Dr Carter said: "Most companies would struggle to save a fifth of their budgets through efficiencies alone and while there is room to improve in the NHS we need also to contend with an increasing demand on services and rising public health pressures. If this trend for cuts continues the NHS will soon be straining at the seams."

Health Minister Anne Milton said she understood the RCN's "frustration and concern" but that "many trusts are living in the past and interpreting efficiency savings as budget and service cuts. This is wrong. It is about doing more for less."

7th July 2010

From: Healthcare

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