HOSPITAL job cuts could reach 24,000, it was claimed today.
More than 6,000 job losses have been announced in recent weeks as trust managers battle with their financial difficulties.
Liberal Democrats claim the eventual number could be four times as high as hospitals that have announced job losses so far only account for a quarter of the total NHS deficit for hospitals.
Lib Dem health spokesman Steve Webb said:
"What is needed is long-term planning in the NHS, not a series of short-term initiatives and sudden policy shifts which make sensible planning impossible."