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11,000 NHS job cuts

14th March 2007

The NHS cut its workforce by 11,000 during the last quarter of 2006, according to official statistics.

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The Department of Health played down the losses and said the past 10 years had seen a 300,000 rise in the NHS workforce, now numbering 1.36m people. It warned there would be no more annual growth of staff, but instead a move towards a ‘steady state’.

Doctors’ leaders and unions say the job losses will undoubtedly affect patient care and blamed financial pressure on trusts for cutting posts, most of which were non-medical. The Royal College of Nursing called for a long-term recovery plan to end the short-term measure of job cuts.

The government said there had been few redundancies with most losses coming from vacancy freezes and moving staff into other posts.

The Conservatives said the job losses had come at a time when newly qualified nurses and other healthcare professionals were struggling to find work.

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