NHS redundancies should be avoided4th November 2009
A body representing senior managers across the NHS has said mass redundancies across the health service must be avoided.
This is despite a need to make savings of some £20bn from 2011 to 2014.
NHS Employers has called on its members to look at making savings in other ways such as improving productivity and looking at pay levels.
However, a recent survey by the Health Service Journal revealed that half of finance directors were already planning workforce cuts and about 20% had already introduced a freeze on recruitment.
NHS Employers' director Sian Thomas warned that NHS managers should resist redundancies on a large scale and look to make savings through "natural turnover, eliminate waste and duplication and increase productivity".
Similar cuts of a few years ago, as a result of NHS deficits, had seen nurse training posts cut leading to a shortfall in qualified staff and an increase in international recruitment.
She said: "NHS leaders must explore every alternative before making redundancies to ensure the NHS remains in good health as the economy improves.
"It needs to retain a skilled workforce to ensure that quality patient care does not suffer as we overcome the consequences of significantly reduced funding."
Unison welcomed the call while the Department of Health said it agreed with the suggestions from the NHS managers’ body.
A DH spokesperson said: "We do not believe that the right way to improve the NHS now, or in the future, is by blanket cuts to the workforce."
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