The loss of thousands of jobs through the abolition of primary care trusts will happen within a year, instead of the previously expected two years, union leaders have claimed.

Unison said the jobs will be axed by next April, a year quicker than announced under the government’s plans for a shake-up of the NHS.

Unison said around 3,300 jobs were set to be lost in London alone.

Chis Remington, the union’s head of health for London, said: “The health white paper paves the way for massive job losses as primary care trusts are abolished. In London alone, 3,300 jobs are set to go and these losses are being changed from two years into one.

“This will cause widespread disturbance to health service provision in the capital as commissioning expertise will be lost and there is no system in place to replace it.”

Unions said that hundreds of PCT employees in parts of London including Haringey, Islington, Enfield and Barnet were today told they will be put on a 90 day statutory consultation on redundancy.

The Royal College of Nursing recently warned that almost 27,000 health jobs faced the axe, describing the government’s promise to protect the NHS from cuts as an “urban myth”.

The RCN warned that waiting lists for operations will rise as job losses mount, adding that the public should be “really concerned” about the impact of the cuts.

Dr Peter Carter, chief executive of the RCN, said job losses were occurring by “stealth”, with trusts withholding evidence of redundancies and recruitment freezes.