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Remedy Medical | Nurses from the EU and U.K leave the NHS en masse post Brexit.

Nurse on the floor

Alfie Rankin Medical

Nurses from the EU and U.K leave the NHS en masse post Brexit.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council - responsible for registering nurses before they can practise in the UK - have released figures that show that 35,363 nurses left the NHS between October 2016 and September 2017. The figures when coupled with the fact that only 27,786 new nurses registered during the same timeframe makes for an alarming read.

The figures also represent the first time nursing numbers have dropped since 2003.

A considerable number of the nurses leaving are from the E.U Just 46 nurses from EU countries registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) in April 2017, compared with 1,304 in July 2016 as the chart below demonstrates.

Source: Health Service Journal.

Jackie Smith, chief executive of the NMC, said “It’s worrying that we are seeing a continuing rise in nurses and midwives leaving the register,” she said. “And our data is clear that this is being driven by both UK and EU registrants

Responding to the statistics a Department of Health spokesman claimed that the figures represent a mere 0.2% decrease in the 689,738 nurses and midwives currently registered with the NMC adding that the Government had just announced a 25% increase of nurse training places, “the biggest in history”. Arguably however, the training places will not help the immediate nursing shortage since it will take years for them to become qualified.

The statistics come after the Government’s public sector pay cap and the scrapping of bursaries for student nurses both of which have sparked protest from the nursing profession. Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has said the pay cap has been scrapped, but that the treasury wants to see “evidence of productivity improvements” before any staff can benefit.