New figures released by the NHS Information Centre reveal that the number of nurses in the NHS decreased by 1 per cent in 2011, despite ministers promising to protect the frontline from job cuts.
NHS staff has been cut by 20,000
Just yesterday, a survey from the Royal College of Nursing revealed that older patients are being let down by a shortage of nurses in the NHS.
The RCN, representing 400,000 nurses, called for guaranteed minimum numbers on wards to give staff the time to look after elderly patients.
But the NHS Information Centre has now revealed that nursing posts fell by nearly 3,500 in 2011, 1 per cent of the total culled jobs that year.
In total, the NHS workforce declined by nearly 20,000 in 2011 to 1,350,000, a fall of 1.4 per cent. This drop was partly expected, because thousands of managers and admin staff have been made redundant in the NHS reforms.
Support staff numbers fell by nearly 14,000 in the year to September 2011 - a fall of 6 per cent.
Manager posts saw the single biggest decline, dropping by 9 per cent.
However, GP and consultant numbers rose and overall staff numbers are still up by more than a fifth from a decade ago.
But the drop of 3,500 nurses will put pressure on an already tight workforce. A recent study revealed that 58 per cent of nurses think patient care is mediocre or worse.
© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2012