Wednesday, March 14, 2007

NHS workforce 'falls by 11,000'

The number of people working in the NHS fell by 11,000 in the last quarter of 2006, official figures reveal.

Health unions said the loss across the UK, revealed in Office for National Statistics, would "inevitably have a negative impact on patient care".

James Johnson, head of the British Medical Association said NHS trusts were under pressure to balance their books, leading to posts being cut.

And nurses' leaders warned workforce cuts would damage patient care.

Dr Peter Carter, general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), added: "These alarming figures confirm what the RCN has long been warning - that deficits are leading to serious cuts in the NHS workforce.

"This can only have a damaging impact on patients and services. That's why we are urging the government to work with us to replace short-term cuts with a long-term recovery plan."

Mr Johnson added: "This is devastating for the staff who are made redundant and demoralising for those who are left to cover the work.

"Although the majority of job losses are non-medical, they will inevitably have a negative impact on patient care."