Significant Drop in Number of EU Nurses since Brexit
An RCN Freedom of Information request shows that EU nurses joining the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) register has shrunk to fewer than 200 per month.
Compare this to the figure of nearly 800 a month for the same period in 2015 and it is clear that due to the referendum in June last year, we are seeing EU nurses turning away from the NHS. As well as the evident decline in new recruitment of EU nurses to the UK, a separate FOI request has exposed that 2,700 nurses already working in the UK left the NMC register in 2016.
Janet Davies, RCN Chief Executive & General Secretary, said: “EU nationals working in the NHS need a clear signal from Theresa May that they are wanted and welcome to stay. Her failure to guarantee their right to remain is leaving soaring numbers heading for the door. Few are able to live with such uncertainty.”
Due to a lack of British nurses being available, NHS hospitals and community services have relied on international recruitment more and more; from 2011 – 2016, the number of EU nurses available trebled. Davies commented that: “(The health service) cannot afford to lose the international workers the NHS relies on”.
It is also anticipated that one in three nurses will retire in the next 10 years whilst 24,000 nursing posts are currently unfilled in England. “The Government is turning off the supply of qualified nurses from around the world at the very moment the health service is in a staffing crisis like never before”, said Davies.
On 29th March, Prime Minister Theresa May will trigger Article 50.
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