European nurses and midwives leaving UK in droves since Brexit vote

The number of nurses and midwives coming to work in Britain from Europe has plunged by 89% since the UK voted to leave the EU, figures have revealed.

The sharp fall coincided with a sudden increase in qualified European medics leaving the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s (NMC) register: from 2,435 in 2015-16 to 4,067 in the last year – a rise of 67%.

The NMC data, released on Thursday, also shows a third worrying trend relating to the NHS’s already shortstaffed workforce – that the number of UK-trained nurses and midwives leaving the register rose by 11%, from 26,653 in 2015-16 to 29,019 last year.

Health union leaders said the trends were alarming and constituted “a double whammy for the NHS and patients”. The NHS is already short of an estimated 40,000 nurses across the UK and 3,500 midwives in England alone.

“These dramatic figures should set alarm bells ringing in Whitehall and every UK health department. [They] represent a double whammy for the NHS and patients”, said Janet Davies, the chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing.

The figures are the latest evidence that Britain’s decision last year to leave the EU has led to more staff from EU countries quitting and fewer choosing to pursue their careers in the UK.

Article from the Guardian, 2 November 2017