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Nursing union warns of job cuts

12th November 2010

Nurse leaders have warned that up to 27,000 NHS posts are under threat across the UK.

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The Royal College of Nursing warns the health service faces a period of job cuts, clogged hospital wards and rising waiting times.

With so many jobs under threat, the RCN is concerned that services will suffer and said patients should be concerned about the future of the NHS.

While protected from cuts in the recent spending review, the NHS is to get only 0.1% annual rises for the next four years after inflation.

RCN general secretary Peter Carter said: "Right now, staff are not only concerned about losing their jobs, they are concerned about keeping services open and how they will cope if they stay.

“The public should be really concerned about the potential impact to the NHS. I predict waiting will rise. It won't be too long before people start asking what is going on.”

The warning comes as one trust, South West Essex Primary Care Trust, is extending waiting times for routine operations as part of a £56m turnaround programme and has announced more than 200 job cuts with more to come.

Shadow health secretary John Healey described the RCN report as “an early warning of the strains that the NHS is under”.

NHS chief executive Sir David Nicholson said staffing was a matter for local trusts but added: "We have made it clear that efficiency savings must not impact adversely on patient care, and that every penny saved must be reinvested in support of front line services and improving quality."

 

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