Nurses, doctors and dentists are facing redundancy as the NHS looks at cutting 50,000 jobs amid spending cuts, a report has claimed.
The situation is "destroying" government claims that it would prioritise the health service, the cuts opposition group False Economy said.
Its study reveals trusts all over the UK are in the process of axing workers or warning they will have to eventually. The TUC backed the study, with general secretary Brendan Barber saying it "gives the lie" to government promises to look after the NHS.
The number of health staff facing redundancy across the country is more than 53,000 when all certain, planned and possible job cuts are added together, False Economy said. It warned every health trust in Wales is set to reveal job losses, along with many others, within four months.
The chairman of the British Medical Association, Dr Hamish Meldrum, said cutting staff would hurt the NHS in the long-run. He said: "Even cuts to back-room staff frequently have an impact on clinical workers, who have to pick up the administrative burden."
The NHS Confederation's 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."
But a source at the Department of Health 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."
Copyright © Press Association 2011
Your comments (terms and conditions apply):
"The proportion of staff leaving the NHS through natural wastage ie moving on, retirement etc would easily be around 50,000 a year from a workforce of 1m and so this statistic needs some clarification. We all know that the economic measures being taken by this government mean cuts. The way that the cuts are manifested will depend on the ingenuity of the budget holders and the creative way in which the service can be delivered. Make no mistake, we will have to do more with less whether we agree with it or not" – Name and address withheld
"I do not doubt what they say at all. I think these cuts will increase the aggression and assaults on remaining frontline staff who always end up taking the flak. I think it is time for govt to come clean and tell people to take responsibilty for their own health to a much greater degree and spell out honestly what the NHS can be expected to deliver. There is not a pill for every ill and often the appropiate pill is the much derided two paracetamol, which can be bought over the counter" – Name and address withheld