The Department of Health and NHS Employers have published a framework to help NHS organisations manage workforce challenges during the financial crisis.
The framework advises NHS organisations to consider a number of measures before they resort to making staff redundant.
These include: ring-fencing vacancies for at-risk staff who have the necessary qualifications and giving everyone who is being made redundant an interview with a personal adviser equipped with detailed knowledge of the health sector.
It also advises trusts to: review temporary and fixed-term contracts take new approaches to flexible working hours and create pools for newly-qualified healthcare professionals so they can be offered jobs when vacancies arise.
Trusts should always look to recruit in the UK before looking abroad to find new staff, the guidance states.
Strategic health authorities should support "cross-boundary partnerships" that maximise the opportunities available to "displaced" and newly-qualified staff.
Steve Barnett, director of NHS Employers, said: "The framework sets out a range of measures that can help employers reduce costs and reshape their workforce without recourse to redundancies. The NHS relies on the skills, commitment and dedication of the people it trains and employs. This rich resource needs to be sustained and secured through the current round of restructuring and reform."