Nursing unions have warned that any attempt to cut nurses and other NHS staff in order to save money would have a detrimental effect on patient safety.
A government-commissioned report, written by management consultants McKinseys and leaked to Health Service Journal, proposes that the NHS must shed 10 per cent of its workforce to meet ministerial savings targets.
Responding to the report, UNISON Head of Health Karen Jennings said: “The McKinsey report comes up with the same old formulaic answers and their much-repeated mantra of job cuts, as the answer to NHS savings.
“We have seen the very real problems caused by under-staffing in the Mid- Staffs hospital and the resulting impact on the quality of patient care. We must learn the lessons and listen to staff who know where the real savings can be made. Working with staff to improve productivity is the way forward,” she added.
Royal College of Nursing chief executive Peter Carter said: “These proposals are deeply worrying because recent studies show that there is a direct link between the number of nurses working on wards and patient deaths.
“It is disingenuous to say on the one hand you want to improve safety and quality of patient care, and on the other take advice on reducing numbers of clinical staff,” he said.