The number of people working in the NHS fell by 11,000 in the last quarter of 2006, official figures have revealed.
The figures were released by the Office for National Statistics earlier this week.
The British Medical Association (BMA) said NHS trusts were under mounting pressure to balance the books, and posts were being cut as a result.
BMA chairman James Johnson said: “This is devastating for the staff who are made redundant, and demoralising for those who are left to cover the work.
“Although the majority of job losses are non-medical, they will inevitably have a negative impact on patient care.”
Dr Peter Carter, general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), added: “These alarming figures confirm what the RCN has long been warning – that deficits are leading to serious cuts in the NHS workforce.