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NHS 'face job cuts despite promise'

Thousands of NHS jobs are being cut despite Government promises to protect frontline services, a union has warned.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) is aware of almost 10,000 posts that have been lost through recruitment freezes, redundancies and people not replaced when they retire, or which face cuts in the future.

This is double the figure reported two months ago, although the RCN has now gathered details from more trusts.

In April, it warned at least 5,600 posts had been lost or were earmarked for cuts, based on data from 26 trusts in England.

Now it says figures from 100 NHS organisations in England show 9,973 posts have gone, been frozen, or will go.

This is the equivalent of 47 jobs a day over the last six months.

Howard Catton, head of policy at the RCN, said this was a "conservative figure" based on the lowest estimates from trusts of what has happened or will happen over the next two years.

The union pointed to a "growing gulf" between government promises to protect frontline services and "short-sighted" cuts happening in trusts.

Ministers have told the NHS to find between £15 and £20 billion in efficiency savings by 2014 but Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has promised to protect frontline services.

Dr Peter Carter, chief executive of the RCN, said the latest job figures did not bode well for the future and "logic would suggest" the number of posts under threat is actually higher.


From Belfast Telegraph