Some 15,000 nurses and healthcare assistants expect to be made redundant in the next 12 months, while cuts are impacting on patient care, according to a poll.
One in 20 (5%) of 8,000 staff surveyed said they thought they would lose their job while a further 6% expect reduced hours and 7% think they will be “downbanded” - when a role is re-evaluated and assessed as being of a lower grade.
The employment poll for the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) included more than 6,000 nurses and healthcare assistants working in the NHS.
It found more than half of nurses (54%) reporting lower staffing levels for registered nurses over the last year.
Four out of 10 said they were seeing recruitment freezes with unfilled posts, 19% were seeing job cuts and 13% were witnessing ward or bed closures.
Nurses are also working extra hours according to the survey, with 57% saying they do so every shift or several times a week.
Some 16% work extra time every shift (up from 10% in 2009) and 41% do so several times a week (up from 31%).
More than half of the nurses (52%) said they were now too busy to provide the level of care they would like and 32% said the quality of patient care is going down.
Dr Peter Carter, chief executive the RCN, said: “Nurses are at the heart of all that is good about the NHS and this is yet more evidence that the front line is not being protected.
“It is absolutely critical that trusts make sure they have the right numbers and balance of staff to deal with this.”
The RCN has been analysing job cuts around the country and has discovered that some 40,000 NHS posts are earmarked to be lost.
A Department of Health spokesman said: “We don’t agree with this estimate.
“We we want to work together with the RCN and others to design a new system to ensure that workforce plans and numbers of training places commissioned are based on rigorous analysis and the best professional advice.”