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May 2018

‘Major concern’ as more EU nurses leave the UK register

NMC figures show a significant rise in the number of EU nurses and midwives leaving the register. Between April 2017 and March 2018, 3,962 people left – an increase of 29%.

At the end of March 2018 there were 690,278 nurses and midwives on the register – 495 fewer than at the end of March 2017.

There continues to be a dramatic drop in those joining the register from the EU. Over the same period 805 EU nurses and midwives joined the register compared with 6,382 the year before – a drop of 87%. A NMC survey* of leavers found a major reason was Brexit.

Following a period of sustained decline, the number of UK trained nurses and midwives registered to work appears to be stabilising. The number joining the register for the first time is at its highest level for 4 years while 4,034 fewer people left the register.

The number of nurses and midwives joining the register from outside the EU has also risen for the fourth consecutive year with 1,093 more nurses and midwives on the register compared March 2017, in contrast to the exodus of EU registrants.

NMC Registrar Jackie Smith said: ‘While the picture for UK trained nurses and midwives appears to be stabilising, the number of people from the EU leaving our register remains a major concern, despite reassuring comments from senior members of government and nurse leaders.

‘We asked people why they were leaving and for EU nurses and midwives it’s clear that Brexit is playing a part, while retirement and staffing levels are clear factors in the decision of UK nurses and midwives to leave the profession.’

*The NMC surveyed 3,496 people who left the register between June and November 2017 to find out their reasons for leaving. EU nurses and midwives cited leaving the UK and Brexit as their top reasons while retirement, staffing levels and changes to personal circumstances were the main reasons for UK registrants leaving.

May 2018