A health board has announced it is to cut more than 1,200 jobs in the next 18 months.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said a “redesign” of its services means that it will be able to provide the same quality of care with fewer staff.

It anticipates cutting 1,252 full-time jobs over the next year and a half as part of its programme of modernisation of services.

About half of them are nursing and midwifery posts while other jobs to go include administrative and clerical positions.

The health board said it guarantees that there will be no compulsory redundancies and said it was confident the changes can be achieved through natural wastage.

Nursing leaders condemned the move, warning that it would put patient safety at risk, while Labour leader Iain Gray accused the SNP of ordering cuts to the health service.

Health board chiefs said they had worked with trade union staff organisations and would continue to do so to implement the changes.

An NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde spokeswoman said: “Between 2009 and 2012 we will have spent £350 million on modernising our hospitals and other facilities, equipment and support services.

“This investment will create purpose-built facilities, enabling us to provide care to our patients more efficiently and more effectively.

“By redesigning our services, including a move for some services onto fewer sites, we have identified that we can provide the same high-quality care for our patients with fewer staff - 700 whole time equivalent in 2010/11 year, rising to 1,252 whole time equivalent over 18 months.

“Every year, we have a staff turnover of around 10%. For us, this means that more than 3,000 staff leave our employment every year.

“We are, therefore, confident that these changes can be achieved through natural wastage.”

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN)Scotland called on the health board to “urgently” reconsider the plans.