NHS faces 50,000 jobs cull

22 Feb 11
More than 50,000 NHS jobs are to be axed, according to research published today.
By Lucy Phillips

23 February 2011

More than 50,000 NHS jobs are to be axed, according to research published today.

Information collected by campaigners against the government’s spending cuts reveals that 53,150 staff posts are confirmed or planned to be lost across the health service by 2015, with many taking place imminently.

The figures are based on Freedom of Information data from NHS trusts and information published by health regulator Monitor. They have been endorsed by trade unions but do not include health boards in Wales, which are expected to announce their staff cuts over the next few months.

Many of the cuts have already taken effect while the front line will inevitably be hit, the campaigners said.

The data has been published on the website FalseEconomy , which was set up to track cuts and co-coordinate related activity. Information on it includes East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust’s plans to shed 1,013 full-time equivalent staff between 2010 and 2015, including almost 50 doctors and dental staff and 270 nurses, midwives and health visitors. At Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, 110 posts have gone since 2010.

Cuts to mental health trusts are set to be particularly acute with many expecting staff reductions of over 15%.

Trades Union Congress general secretary Brendon Barber said: ‘False Economy’s new research on NHS job cuts gives lie to government claims that the NHS was safe in their hands. Not only are they reorganising the NHS in a way that strips out many of its founding principles, but also insisting on immediate cuts that will certainly harm frontline services.’

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis added: ‘The Tories are not the party of the NHS – they are the party that will destroy our NHS. Losing 50,000 health workers will hurt. It’s only a matter of time before the toll of bed shortages and ward closure mount up.’

The British Medical Association agreed that cutting health service staff represented a ‘false economy’.

BMA chair Hamish Meldrum said: ‘Doctors and other NHS staff across the UK are working hard to deliver services more efficiently. Even cuts to “back-room” staff frequently have an impact on clinical workers, who have to pick up the administrative burden. Added to this is the fact that the NHS in England is facing the biggest ever reorganisation in its history, and is under additional pressure as a result of cuts to other public services, such as social care.

‘Cutting staff or services is not the only, nor the best, way to save money in the NHS. There needs to be a much greater focus on reducing waste, such as that created by the bureaucracy of the internal market and the expensive folly of the Private Finance Initiative.’

But a source from the Department of Health accused the unions of 'scaremongering'.

The source said: 'We promised to reduce NHS bureaucracy and plough this money straight back into patient care, and that is exactly what we are delivering. Since last May, there are almost 2,500 more doctors, more nurses and more midwives - and 2,000 fewer managers.'

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