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50,000 NHS jobs 'under threat'

21st November 2011

A report by the Royal College of Nursing has suggested that almost 50,000 NHS jobs could be cut or have already been lost in England.

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The union's report said many frontline workers had their jobs under threat as the health service tried to make financial savings. The figure of approximately 50,000 is 3.5% of the total of 1.4 million health service staff.

The union said patient treatment could suffer as a result of the cuts. The RCN also warned that the total could increase in the next few months as they drew the data from fewer than 50% of the trusts in England.

They said the remainder of trusts were either not making cuts or had yet to announce them.

The RCN has been keeping a close eye on how many jobs have been scrapped since April last year.

The total number of jobs they earmarked as under threat - 48,029 - is equal to the closure of four big hospital trusts.

The types of jobs at risk are at all levels, from doctors and nurses to admin staff and hospital porters.

The RCN also looked closely at 41 trusts where jobs were in danger and found that an average of 10% of the workforce at each could lose their jobs.

In the worst cases, a fifth of the workers might be made redundant.

RCN chief executive Peter Carter said the size of the cutbacks could have a "deep and potentially dangerous impact on patient care".

"Staffing levels should be based on rigorous clinical evidence and should not be arbitrarily lowered in a short-sighted effort to save money." 

David Stout, deputy chief executive of the NHS Confederation said:  "We all need to be honest with the public, patients and staff that we have no pain-free option.

"Managing the financial challenge, while undergoing a huge structural reorganisation, is going to be tough. There is no doubt that many staff will find this personally very difficult." 

 

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