Huge UK Medics’ Jobs Under Threat After Elections

Thousands of doctors and nurses face the sack after the election under devastating cuts being planned by NHS bureaucrats, according to two studies.

Despite repeated promises from Labour ministers to safeguard patient care, front-line staff look set to bear the brunt of a Whitehall diktat that the NHS slash its budgets by billions of pounds. Last night nursing leaders warned the cuts could see the return of Third World wards and long waits for treatment – and could even threaten the lives of patients.

A report from the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has identified 5,600 jobs which are under threat, and that is in just 26 hospital trusts. The union said the figure could rise to more than 36,000 in a ‘worst-case scenario’, if the data is extrapolated across all 170 trusts.

Separate analysis by the Tories shows hospitals are planning to sack at least 650 doctors and 2,000 nurses in England – while 1,500 beds have been earmarked for closure. They say these figures are likely to be just the tip of the iceberg.

The surveys are a severe embarrassment to Gordon Brown on the day he is expected to address nurses at the RCN conference in Bournemouth.

The true scale of the cuts comes just days after Health Secretary Andy Burnham promised that a planned £20billion of ‘efficiency savings’ by 2014 would not affect the front-line. But union leaders said nurses had been misled by the Government and accused ministers of protecting the jobs of highly paid managers.

The Conservative analysis revealed that more than half of hospitals are planning to cut the number of doctors they employ. At least 650 jobs are at risk. More than half say they will slash the number of nurses, with around 2,050 nursing jobs at risk. The NHS in the West Midlands alone plans to cut 900 nurses. Three in five hospitals are planning bed cuts.

Tory health spokesman Andrew Lansley said: ‘Gordon Brown has promised voters that he would protect the NHS and protect front-line services. But these figures reveal that Labour are actually planning secret cuts.’

A Department of Health spokesman said: ‘The 2010 Budget confirmed that funding for front-line NHS services will rise in line with inflation in 2011/12 and 2012/13 and also confirmed that the NHS will deliver annual efficiency savings of £15bn to £20bn by 2013/14.’

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