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Exclusive: 50,000 NHS job losses uncovered by False Economy

False Economy, which formally launches today, can reveal that more than 50,000 NHS staff posts are set for the axe, destroying government claims that the NHS is in safe hands.

Health secretary Andrew Lansley said in April 2010 of possible NHS job cuts under Labour: “They will cut the number of nurses, the number of doctors and the number of hospital beds. It does not get more frontline than that.”

Original Conservative Party election posterOriginal Conservative Party election poster.

David Cameron then famously claimed before the election that he would “cut the deficit, not the NHS”.

However less than 10 months into the coalition government, the reality couldn’t be more different, with NHS cuts across the country including:

The total confirmed, planned and potential NHS staff cuts across the country currently stands at just over 53,150 posts – and that’s before a host of trusts are expected to announce staff cuts over the next four months, including all Wales’ health boards.

The national total is already twice the previous estimate of 27,000 job cuts, published by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) last November.

The cuts in mental health trusts are particularly acute, with cuts of over 15 per cent at the following NHS Trusts; Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership, Derbyshire Mental Health Services, Mersey Care, and Kent and Medway and Social Care Partnership Trust.

Our figures have been collated for the most part from NHS trusts themselves under the Freedom of Information Act but also include figures sourced by the RCN Frontline First campaign, as well as press reports and foundation trusts’ annual plans published by the national regulator Monitor.

The figures are, where possible, given as full-time equivalents, net of any recruitment of new staff. They include the 4,000 job cuts recently predicted by Northern Irish health minister Michael McGimpsey over the next four years, plus 3,000 job cuts previously announced by NHS trusts that are now subject to revision.

While most of the cuts are likely to be achieved through natural wastage rather than compulsory redundancies, it is hard to see how 20 per cent staff cuts – such as those planned by Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust – can be achieved without directly impacting on patient care.

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: “False Economy’s new research on NHS job cuts gives the lie to government claims that the NHS was safe in their hands. Not only are they reorganising the NHS in a way that strips out many of its founding principles, but also insisting on immediate cuts that will certainly harm frontline services. To echo Andrew Lansley, it does not get much more frontline than that.

Update: Read our follow-up post

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