NHS trusts have been accused by the Royal College of Nursing of failing to consult with staff as they seek cuts in frontline jobs.

The RCN trawled trust board papers to find 9,973 jobs earmarked for redundancy, freezes, natural wastage, downgrading of roles, and ending the use oftemporary and agency staff.

It found some trusts are reviewing their skill-mix so nonregistered staff will provide more care, and others are rebanding or down-banding nursing posts to achieve savings.

But RCN general secretary Peter Carter said few trusts were consulting with staff on where jobs should go, or trying to make savings through clinical evidence based reconfiguration of services.

“Frontline staff know where the efficiencies can be made and trusts should engage with staff to ensure better care,” he said.

NHS Confederation acting chief executive Nigel Edwards said some trusts may decide not to fill posts or to reduce staff numbers to meet “constrained budgets”. He called on trusts to be clear and open about how they manage staff numbers.

“All NHS organisations will be looking at how they can best manage their finances… the best ones will be ensuring this is done transparently and in consultation with staff,” he said.