NHS trusts are making “deep and dangerous” cuts to staff, according to a nursing union.
The Royal College of Nursing said about 5,600 jobs across 26 healthcare trusts in front- and back-office roles already face the axe.
Up to 40,000 jobs could be lost in total, if the figures were extrapolated, according to the Telegraph.
The NHS is expected to make between £15 and £20bn worth of efficiency savings within the next four years.
Job cuts will be at the top of the agenda as nurses gather in Bournemouth for their annual conference today.
Peter Carter, RCN general secretary, said: “We are in no doubt that politicians genuinely want to protect frontline services and the vital care they deliver to patients. However, there appears to be a gulf between rhetoric and reality when it comes to finding efficiencies in the NHS.
“Despite assurances that the NHS budget will be protected, the reality is that locally, trusts are making deep and dangerous cuts to staff.”
Carter added: “I know that NHS managers have to be well-paid but in times of austerity you have to look at back office staff.”
A Department of Health spokesman said: “In delivering efficiency improvements, service change proposals must demonstrate a strong clinical case for change, promoting better outcomes for patients.”