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Last Updated: Monday, 30 October 2006, 14:08 GMT
Redundancies for '900' NHS staff
Nurse
Job cuts are proposed at NHS trusts across England
The government says just over 900 NHS staff are set to be made redundant as part of hospital reorganisations.

Health Minister Lord Warner said it showed the "true picture" and not the "inflated figure" some had used.

Unions have warned up to 20,000 jobs are set to go in hospitals across England.

A spokeswoman for Unison said this figure referred to a range of ways jobs were being cut, including redundancies, post closures and job freezes.

Unison and other unions are set to lobby parliament over NHS job losses on Wednesday.

Natural turnover

The redundancies announced include 167 medical staff.

Lord Warner, launching a new framework to help staff moving to different areas of health and social service care, said: "We have always said there will be a minority of redundancies, which is regrettable, but employers will do all they can to support those staff.

What saddens me greatly is that the government seem to be claiming 903 NHS compulsory redundancies as a success
Beverly Malone, Royal College of Nursing

"In the main, employers are taking alternative steps to minimise the level of compulsory redundancies such as reducing staff levels through natural turnover, which is around 130,000 staff every year in the NHS anyway, redeployment and by reducing demand for agency staff."

He added: "The number of compulsory redundancies should be seen in the context of a 300,000 increase in staff numbers across the NHS since 1997 - a rise of more than 29% - including 85,000 more nurses."

David Nicholson, NHS chief executive, added: "Many NHS organisations are reviewing the way they work, as part of their duties to ensure that the quality of patient care is delivered in the most efficient way.

"Inevitably this means assessing the numbers of staff they need and how best to deploy their skills and experience.

"Whilst the overall number of compulsory redundancies are small in the context of a service that employs 1.3 million people, employers and staff need to be supported through these difficult changes."

But a spokeswoman for Unison said: "The government isn't taking into account voluntary redundancies, posts being frozen, agency staff no longer being used.

"Obviously the work doesn't go away just because the post has been closed. The patients are still there."

A Unison staff survey, submitted as part of the recent pay negotiations, revealed more people were working overtime and a third of those surveyed felt patient care was compromised because there were fewer staff in their units.

'No illusions'

Dr Beverly Malone, General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said: "We welcome the fact that the government has at last come clean on the serious number of compulsory redundancies in the NHS because of the deficits crisis.

"However, we are dismayed that ministers have failed to include in their published evidence the number of voluntary redundancies and posts to be deleted in the NHS."

She said the figure of 20,000 NHS post losses did not simple cover redundancies.

"This is the number of posts identified by trusts in England to be lost by freezing and deleting posts and by voluntary and compulsory redundancies.

"But ministers should be under no illusions about the serious impact on patients care if these posts are lost to the NHS."

Dr Malone added: "What also saddens me greatly is that the government seem to be claiming 903 NHS compulsory redundancies as a success. I am sure that the 903 people do not share their view."

And Liberal Democrat health spokesman Steve Webb warned: "With most trusts still consulting on what form job losses will take, we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg."

Shadow Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley, said: "What is demoralising NHS staff is that the incompetence and mismanagement of the Labour government has meant that after investment in expanding staffing numbers in the NHS, the financial deficits now mean hospitals are cutting back on the number of jobs."




SEE ALSO
NHS pay rise plans prompt anger
20 Oct 06 |  Health

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