Planned government cuts could result in the loss of thousands of nursing posts, Labour has warned.
Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said the NHS will lose up to 12,000 nurses if the current rate of loss continues, the Independent reports.
The coalition has tasked the health service with making efficiency savings of around £20 billion by 2015. However, Mr Burnham stated new evidence shows NHS trusts are making "crude cuts" to frontline staff in an effort to meet these targets.
The latest data produced by the Health and Social Care Information Centre reveals that there were 350,000 nurses, midwives and health visitors employed in England in November 2012 - 4,000 less than the figure in May 2010.
In August 2012, the number fell to just over 346,000 and Labour explained this slight increase as a standard occurrence as newly-qualified nurses usually enter the workforce between September and November.
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