Strategic health authorities are actively exploring cutting local NHS workforces by up to 10 per cent in order to make the £15bn-£20bn savings required by 2014.
NHS South East Coast’s latest board documents included a “near final” version of its operating framework for 2010-11, which said the 10 per cent increase in size of its local NHS workforce over the last two years “must be reversed”.
“The numbers must return to 2007 levels - or further - in the period to 2012-14, starting in the coming year,” it said, suggesting a headcount reduction of 10,000.
Figures collated by NHS North West show NHS organisations across the region are planning to reduce their total workforce by a similar amount: 8 per cent - or 5,500 full time equivalents - by the end of 2011-12.
The bulk of that will be non-clinical staff with a 17 per cent reduction in their numbers from just under 22,000 to just over 18,000.