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Ambulance staff fall by 10%

Ambulance services have born the brunt of attempts by PCTs to tackle their deficits, a new analysis of NHS finances has revealed.

The number of ambulance staff employed by the NHS slumped by 10% between 2005 and 2006, according to the King's Fund briefing document. Numbers of full-time equivalents fell from 17,417 to 15,723.

The report, NHS Finances 2006/7, examined the impact on the quality of services of the controversial drive to pull the health service back into surplus. It found there were also concerns that nursing numbers had suffered significant cuts.

The report said the Royal College of Nursing claimed 22,363 nursing posts had been lost between June 2005 and April 2007 as a result of deficits.

But the authors warned these figures were unverifiable, since there were no national figures on voluntary redunddancies or deleted vacant posts.

Overall, NHS staff numbers fell by 1.3%, mostly through falls in managerial staff.

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