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'Workforce crisis' in NHS

13th November 2012

The health service in England is facing a "deepening workforce crisis" according to the Royal College of Nursing.

nurse cuts

The RCN said over 60,000 posts were either "at risk" or had been scrapped since the coalition government was formed.

The RCN analysed local trust board information and health service data to estimate the number of positions at risk or which had been lost.

The Frontline First report said 61,276 health service positions were in danger or had already been scrapped.

It said 18,000 management and administrative positions had gone already, and since 2010 almost 21,000 posts had been lost.

Dr Peter Carter, the RCN's general secretary, said: "For the past two and a half years, the government's consistent rhetoric has been that front-line posts and services are being protected."

"Sadly, that is simply not the case. Ten of thousands of posts have gone and cuts are a now common occurrence on the ground, hitting jobs and services that patients rely on." 

However the Department of Health called the RCN's warning "scaremongering" and said that waiting times were at a record low.

Dr Dan Poulter, health minister, said: "This government fully supports the NHS and will put an extra £12.5 billion into the health services by 2015."

"But at the same time, the health service is changing - average lengths of stay in hospitals are about one third shorter than they were 10 years ago, and there is more surgery where patients don't have to stay overnight on a ward. The numbers of patients treated as day cases is 500,000 more than it was two years ago."

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