More than 50,000 NHS jobs face being axed, including doctors, nurses and dentists, because of government spending cuts, “destroying” claims about the funding of the health service, a new report claims.
A study by False Economy, an anti-cuts campaign group, found that health trusts across the country were cutting staff or warning of job losses.
The TUC said the research, out today, “gives the lie” to government claims that the NHS was safe in their hands.
The report detailed a series of cuts, including:
- East Lancashire Hospitals Trust, which expects to shed 1,013 full-time equivalent staff from 2010-15, including almost 50 doctors and dental staff, as well as 270 nurses, midwives and health visitors;
- Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, which is cutting 682 full-time equivalent posts between 2010 and 2013. 110 posts have already gone;
- University Hospital of North Staffordshire Trust, which is forecasting a reduction of 1,349 full-time posts from 2011-15 - 22.5 per cent of its entire staff;
- Countess of Chester Hospital Foundation Trust, which expects to cut 461 full-time posts by 2015 - a 16 per cent reduction including a 12 per cent cut in nurses, midwives and health visitors;
- Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, which is cutting 1,755 full-time posts in 2010-11 - nearly a 9 per cent reduction in one year, including 120 doctors and dentists, and 620 nurses;
- Royal Devon and Exeter Foundation Trust, which plans to shed 1,115 full-time posts from 2011-14, mainly through natural turnover.
False Economy said the total number of confirmed, planned and potential NHS staff cuts across the country was more than 53,000, adding that more NHS trusts were expected to announce staff cuts over the next four months, including all Wales’ health boards.
Unison’s general secretary Dave Prentis said: “The Tories cannot ignore the mounting evidence that they have got it wrong on the health service, and wrong on recovery. They need to put the brakes on the cuts, and shelve the titanic reorganisation of the health service before it’s too late.”
Royal College of Nursing general secretary Dr Peter Carter said: “We understand that the government wants to protect frontline services. However, it is now vital that trusts are open and transparent about their plans.”
A Department of Health source said: “This is scaremongering from the unions. 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.”
NHS Confederation acting chief executive Nigel Edwards said: “The NHS faces an absolutely massive financial challenge and job losses are a very sad but inevitable consequence of that. This is going to be one of the toughest ever years for the NHS and it will be very difficult for those affected.”