The number of medical professionals left unemployed has risen considerably over the past three years, figures revealed today.
Statistics obtained by the Liberal Democrats show that there has been an 80 per cent rise since 2005 in nurses and midwives left without a job six months after qualifying.
Almost three-quarters more nurses and midwives are working in jobs outside of their profession than in 2002/03 and nearly a third more doctors are unemployed.
The figures also revealed that over 1,000 nurses were unemployed in 2005/06.
The Liberal Democrats have accused the government of creating a "feast or famine" approach to NHS recruitment and say a new long-term strategy needs to be put in place.
Liberal Democrat health spokesman Norman Lamb described the employment figures as a "disgraceful waste of human talent and a scandalous use of public money".
"It's no surprise that so many committed healthcare professionals have lost faith in the way Labour has run the NHS.
"Having trained for years at taxpayers' expense, many nurses and midwives are now unable to find jobs.
"This will have a terrible effect on already crumbling staff morale and send a worrying signal to patients at a time when the workload on many wards remains high."
A Department of Health spokesperson commented: "It is for local NHS organisations to determine the number of nurses and midwives that they need to employ to meet the needs of their local populations.
"But the Department is working with strategic health authorities and trade unions to do all we can to maximise employment opportunities for newly qualified nurses."