An NHS workforce census has shown that there are 3,500 fewer nurses working in the NHS than in 2010 and the number of managers has also dropped significantly. It is the biggest fall in staff figures for a decade and comes as the NHS is making £20 billion in efficiency savings by 2014/15.
Managers saw their numbers falling by 8.9 per cent to 38,214 in the year to September last year, NHS support staff fell to 219,624, a fall of 5.9 per cent since 2010, while the number of hospital and community health service nurses fell by 3,411, or one per cent.
Dr Peter Carter, chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), said the loss of qualified nurses was "incredibly worrying. These figures are yet further evidence of the rising scale of cuts to NHS jobs and services and tally up with the RCN's findings which in November revealed at least 56,000 NHS posts are to go across the UK. Yesterday's NHS staff survey shows clearly the impact of these cuts, with two thirds of respondents saying that there are not enough staff to allow them to do their jobs properly. Despite the rhetoric, we know that frontline jobs are not being protected and NHS trusts must stop making cuts in a quick fix attempt to save money. Put bluntly, the idea that cutting hundreds of jobs from a hospital will not affect the care of patients is ludicrous. There is no doubt that the impact of these cuts, combined with the upheaval created by the Health and Social Care Bill, means that the NHS is becoming seriously destabilised. We know that savings need to be made, but cutting frontline staff and services that vulnerable patients rely on is just not the way to do it."