New figures show that the NHS workforce shrank by 2 per cent in the year leading up to August 2011, reflecting the £20bn worth of cuts needing to be made by 2015.
Publication Nursing Times compared average headcount figures for each region of the UK between August 2010 and August 2011.
In the year to August 2011, 96,718 staff left the NHS in England, 31 per cent more than the 73,790 who joined it.
The figures, from the NHS Information Centre, are based on headcount and exclude trainee and locum doctors, bank staff and primary care staff.
The report also highlighted the variations in the loss of staff between different regions. In the South East Coast, 12 per cent more staff left than joined. Comparatively, the North West had 61 per cent more leavers than recruits.
Redundancies, frozen posts and changes in skill mix are the common reasons for people leaving the NHS.
Southampton University chair of health services research Peter Griffiths said:
“It might be that the regions are acting to different timescales in terms of responding to financial pressures.”
Cuts are particularly evident in the nursing and midwifery sector- in the year, 13 per cent fewer nurses, midwives and health visitors joined the NHS than left it.
With budgets getting tighter and with pressure increasing in the NHS, there may not be enough money to maintain its high standards.
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