Up to 1,000 nursing posts in England could be lost as NHS bosses struggle to balance their books, nursing leaders have warned.
Some hospital trusts have already announced recruitment freezes, but evidence from the Royal College of Nursing shows the problems are more widespread.
The RCN said patient care would suffer if nurses lost their jobs or vacant posts were not filled after one in four trusts finished last year in deficit.
Its general secretary Beverly Malone said: “We are putting a spotlight on this issue now before it is too late. Valuable, highly-experienced staff could be lost, and we simply cannot afford to let this happen.”
A spokeswoman for the NHS Confederation admitted that some trusts are having to consider redundancies.