Thousands of NHS nurses will lose their jobs over the next five years under Labour’s “secret” cost-cutting plans, the Tories have claimed.
The proposals would see 651 fewer doctors and 2,050 fewer nurses across England, shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley said.
Half of NHS trusts that responded to Freedom of Information Act requests made by the Tories said they were planning reductions in the numbers of full-time equivalent doctors and nurses.
NHS West Midlands said it employed 32,969 full-time nurses in 2009-10 and this would fall to 32,047 in 2014-14 - a drop of 922.
Two thirds of trusts that responded also said they planned to cut hospital beds, reducing them by 1,538, the Tories claimed.
The Conservatives have also identified plans they say could see almost £5bn of cuts in the NHS budget, including a fall of £700m in the capital budget in 2010-11 and a £215m “stealth” cut because of planned National Insurance rises.
Mr Lansley said: “Gordon Brown promised voters that he would protect the NHS and protect frontline services. But these figures reveal that Labour are actually planning secret cuts.
“They will cut the number of nurses, the number of doctors and the number of hospital beds. It does not get more frontline than that.”
The information obtained by the Tories on the numbers of full-time equivalent doctors and nurses is based on requests to 169 hospital trusts. Of those, 47 trusts responded with data for two or more financial years.