Staff reductions and increasing workloads are causing patient care to suffer, nurses and midwives have revealed.
A survey conducted by Unison has found that 75% of those surveyed have seen an increase in the number of patients they have treated in the last year, while two-thirds have considered leaving the NHS.
Around 88% think that during first year of the coalition government their workload has increased, and 65% said the rise is hitting patient care and safety.
More than 2,000 nurses and midwives were questioned for the poll, which also revealed that 61% had witnessed a drop in staff numbers in their department.
This could be attributed to redundancy, positions not being filled after staff leave or retire and less reliance on temporary staff.
More than 78% of those surveyed said their employer was making staff and budget cuts, with 36% reporting redundancies at their workplace.
Of just over 500 staff who knew how many posts had been cut, 60% said fewer than 90 posts were going, 24% said more than 100 and 10% said more than 200. Just over 6% of staff knew of more than 500 job losses at their NHS trust.
Overall, 67% of nurses and midwives said increasing workloads had impacted on their own health, with 69% saying their job was bad for family life.
Gail Adams, Unison head of nursing, said: “The results of this damning survey are both sad and shocking.
“Nurses and midwives see first hand the damage that the government’s cuts are inflicting on patient care, so it is perhaps not surprising that 65% say they have considered leaving the NHS.”
A spokesman for the Department of Health said: “We are passionate about the NHS and want to safeguard it for the future.
“We are investing ¬£11.5 billion of funding and reinvesting every penny of efficiency savings back into frontline care, meaning ¬£1.7 billion a year by 2014/15 will be reinvested to improve services for patients.
“But the NHS must change to safeguard its future. That is why we are modernising it, by giving more power to doctors and nurses and by stripping away bureaucracy.”