22/11/2011 16:27 GMT | Updated 22/01/2012 10:12 GMT

NHS Job Cuts Report 'Deeply Flawed'

A report by nursing leaders claiming more than 56,000 NHS jobs have been lost or face the axe and warning of an impending "crisis" is "deeply flawed", health minister Simon Burns says.

Data from the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) earlier found 56,058 jobs have been axed or face the cut across the UK. In April, the figure was almost 40,000 and last November it stood at just 27,000, the RCN said.

Speaking during Commons health questions, Mr Burns hit back at the report's findings, declaring it "outrageous" for an organisation to seek to scare people for "cheap publicity".

His comments came as shadow health minister Jamie Reed said: "The reality is of course that the Royal College of Nursing's report at the weekend revealed that thousands of frontline nursing posts were being cut."

Mr Burns replied: "Can I tell him that the report that he alludes to that came out at the weekend is a deeply flawed one. It is outrageous for an organisation for cheap publicity to seek to scare people.

"It's as flawed as the report that came out a year ago, and far from the 50,000 cuts that the report said, can I tell honourable members that since May 2010, doctors are up 3,500, consultants up 1,600, registrars up 2,100, qualified radiography staff up 549, managers and administration officers down 14,000 to release money for improved healthcare."

Tory MP for North Wiltshire James Gray asked if there was any evidence about jobs losses or if it was "pure trade union scaremongering".

Mr Burns added: "A deeply flawed survey is right in one respect and that is, under this Government, 14,000 administrative and managerial posts have gone from the health service, releasing the money for frontline services."

The RCN earlier said the NHS was heading for "crisis point", saying services and staffing levels were being "severely affected".

It warned of "potentially disastrous consequences for patient care" from the cuts, stating in England alone, 48,029 NHS posts were set to be cut or had been lost, up on 30,873 seven months ago.