Health boards want to reduce their workforce amid tight budgets
Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon has offered a guarantee that no NHS employee will face compulsory redundancy amid pressure on budgets.
Last week NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde announced proposals to shed 1,252 jobs in the next 18 months.
Opposition politicians claimed plans by health boards to axe jobs will hit frontline services.
Ms Sturgeon said she was scrutinising workforce projections, with quality of frontline care the "guiding principle".
She told the BBC's Politics Show that any suggestion NHS workers would face losing their job was "irresponsible".
"The NHS has a policy of no compulsory redundancies and that will continue to be the case," she said.
"At the end of this SNP term of government there will be more people working in the NHS than was the case than when we took office."
About half the proposed cuts in NHS Glasgow and Greater Clyde are nursing and midwifery posts, while other jobs to go include administrative and clerical positions.
NHS Lothian wants to reduce its workforce by about 2,000.
Labour health spokeswoman Jackie Baillie said if other boards followed Glasgow's example, more than 5,000 jobs could be at risk in Scotland.
She said: "You can't make cuts on this scale without damaging patient care.
"Doctors, nurses, midwives and hospital cleaners are in the absolute frontline when it comes to delivering care and beating infection."
She claimed the SNP had underfunded the NHS, which was now having a devastating impact.
Ms Baillie described the scale of proposed job losses as "absolutely shocking".
"Instead of trying to cover-up or deny what is happening, we need the health secretary, Nicola Sturgeon, to take responsibility and tell us how many jobs will go across the country," she added.