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15,000 in health expect to go: poll

Wednesday October 5th 2011

A poll has revealed that some 15,000 nurses and healthcare assistants expect to lose their jobs during the coming year.

The gloomy predictions were made even though cuts are reported to be having an effect on patient care, according to the survey for the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).

Of 8,000 staff who were polled, 5% reckoned they would lose their jobs and another 6% expected their hours to be cut, with 7% thinking they will be downbanded, a process involving re-evaluation of a role which is then assessed as belonging to a lower grade.

The poll, which included more than 6,000 NHS nurses and healthcare assistants, found 54% of nurses told of lower staff levels for registered nurses during the last year.

And 40% reported seeing halts to recruitment with posts unfilled. In addition 19% saw jobs being cut and 13% closures of wards or beds.

But the Department of Health disputed the figures, saying it wanted a new system to see workforce plans and numbers of training places commissioned after "rigorous analysis and the best professional advice."

The department wanted to work with the RCN and others to achieve this, said a department spokesman.

Copyright © Press Association 2011

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