More than 50,000 NHS staff posts are due to be cut across the UK, according to figures collected from hospitals, ambulance and mental health trusts, and primary care organisations.

False Economy, a website launched today to campaign against NHS cuts, said the largest percentage of cuts in most non-NHS organisations would be non-clinical staff.

For example, East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust plans to shed 1,013 full-time equivalent staff between 2010-15, including 304 staff classed as “admin and estates” and 270 nurses, midwives and health visitors.

False Economy also surveyed primary care trusts, although they were asked to exclude the impact of the NHS reorganisation currently underway from their figures.

PCTs are already planning to cut almost 4,000 non-clinical jobs, largely as a result of the requirement to make management cost savings of around 30% over the next three years.

Most of the trusts surveyed for the union-backed campaign said they hoped to achieve the cuts through natural wastage rather than compulsory redundancies.

However, the Trades Union Congress said was hard to see how 20% staff cuts, such as those planned by Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust or University Hospitals of North Staffordshire NHS Trust, could be achieved without impacting patient care.

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said: "The Tories need to put the brakes on the cuts and shelve the titanic reorganisation of the health service before it’s too late."

Dr Hamish Meldrum, BMA council chairman, added: “We agree absolutely that slashing posts represents a false economy.

"Even cuts to ‘back-room’ staff frequently have an impact on clinical workers, who have to pick up the administrative burden.

“Cutting staff or services is not the only, nor the best, way to save money in the NHS. There needs to be a much greater focus on reducing waste, such as that created by the bureaucracy of the internal market and the expensive folly of the Private Finance Initiative.”

The False Economy website wants people to upload details of local cuts, input information on how the cuts will affect them, and promote local groups and activities.

The figures in its survey were mostly collated from Freedom of Information Act requests to individual trusts, but include data sourced by the Royal College of Nursing’s Frontline First campaign, press reports and foundation trust annual plans published by Monitor.

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