Health Minister Lord Warner said that this figure reflected the true picture of job losses not inflated figures that some had used.
‘We have always said that there will be a minority of redundancies’, said Lord Warner. ‘In the main employers are taking alternative steps to minimise the level of compulsory redundancies such as reducing staff levels through natural turnover, which is around 130,000 staff every year in the NHS anyway, redeployment and by reducing demand for agency staff.
‘The number of compulsory redundancies should be seen in the context of a 300,000 increase in staff numbers across the NHS since 1997.’
Dr Bevely Malone, General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said: 'We welcome the fact that the government has at last come clean on the serious number of compulsory redundancies in the NHS because of the deficits crisis. However, we are dismayed that ministers have failed to include in their published evidence the number of voluntary redundancies and posts to be deleted in the NHS.
'Let me be clear about the figure of 20,000 NHS post losses that the RCN have identified. We don't claim that this figure is exclusively redundancies. This is the number of posts identified by Trusts in England to be lost by freezing and deleting posts and by voluntary and compulsory redundancies.'
The DoH has issued new advice to help NHS organisations manage workforce challenges.