News

Almost half of UK’s newly registered nurses were educated abroad

Latest NMC register data show reliance on overseas recruits not only persists but is rising, with the most vulnerable nations among those losing their nurses to the UK
Nurses registering from overseas, and UK nurses with diverse heritage make up increasing proportion of total workforce

Latest NMC register data show reliance on overseas recruits not only persists but is rising, with the most vulnerable nations among those losing their nurses to the UK

Almost half of nurses and midwives who joined the UK register between April and September were from overseas, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has revealed.

Data published today show a marked increase in new registrants –11,496 of 23,598 – who were educated abroad . This is a rise of about 5% since the same period in 2021 and almost four times more than in 2018. Most were trained in India, the Philippines and Nigeria.

Of the 12,102 new registrants trained in the UK, 23% had black, Asian or minority ethnic backgrounds, up from 18%

Latest NMC register data show reliance on overseas recruits not only persists but is rising, with the most vulnerable nations among those losing their nurses to the UK

Nurses registering from overseas, and UK nurses with diverse heritage make up increasing proportion of total workforce
Picture: iStock

Almost half of nurses and midwives who joined the UK register between April and September were from overseas, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has revealed.

Data published today show a marked increase in new registrants –11,496 of 23,598 – who were educated abroad. This is a rise of about 5% since the same period in 2021 and almost four times more than in 2018. Most were trained in India, the Philippines and Nigeria.

Of the 12,102 new registrants trained in the UK, 23% had black, Asian or minority ethnic backgrounds, up from 18% in 2018.

Reflect nurses’ diversity in workplace support

The NMC called on employers to reflect the changing ethnic profile of the nursing and midwifery workforces and to tailor their support to staff with this in mind.

‘It’s vital for these increasingly diverse professionals to be welcomed into an inclusive culture that supports them to thrive,’ NMC chief executive Andrea Sutcliffe said.

‘All international joiners make a valuable contribution to our nation’s health and well-being, and must be fully supported. But it’s essential the UK doesn’t exacerbate workforce shortages and put other health systems at further risk in seeking to address rising demand for services here.’

Ethical nurse recruitment and the WHO red list

Ms Sutcliffe urged employers to practise ethical recruitment and comply with the World Health Organization’s red list of countries where there should be no active recruitment. Two of those – Ghana and Nigeria – are among the most common countries of origin for overseas-educated registrants, NMC data show.

This bears out recent analysis that found employers were still hiring from red-list countries including Nepal, Nigeria and Ghana.

RCN general secretary Pat Cullen called on the government to invest in the home-grown workforce.

‘The government is raiding the rest of the world to cover up for huge losses at home and these figures leave ministers with serious ethical questions to answer,’ she said.

Health and social care secretary in England Steve Barclay said: ‘Alongside growing the workforce at home, we are recruiting talented health workers from abroad as part of our plans to build a stronger NHS for the long-term.’


In other news

Sign up to continue reading for FREE

OR

Unlock full access to RCNi Plus today

Save over 50% on your first three months:

  • Customisable clinical dashboard featuring 200+ topics
  • Unlimited online access to all 10 RCNi Journals including Nursing Standard
  • RCNi Learning featuring 180+ RCN accredited learning modules
  • NMC-compliant RCNi Portfolio to build evidence for revalidation
  • Personalised newsletters tailored to your interests

This article is not available as part of an institutional subscription. Why is this?

Jobs