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EU nurses’ uncertainty post-Brexit is driving many out of UK, says RCN

Figures from Nursing and Midwifery Council show 29% rise in number of EU nurses leaving register
Departures

A 'botched Brexit' has driven EU nurses from the UK, the RCN has said following the release of new workforce figures today.

Data from the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) show that 3,962 EU nurses and midwives left the UK register between April 2017 and March this year.

This represents a 29% increase in the number of EU nurses and midwives leaving the register, compared with the same period the year before.

Intake of EU nurses and midwives into the UK register fell between April 2017 and March 2018, with only 805 joining the register compared with 6,382 the year before a decline of 87%.

Reasons for staff exodus

As part of its data collection process, the NMC surveyed a sample of people (3,496) who left its register between June and November last year.

Of the departing

A 'botched Brexit' has driven EU nurses from the UK, the RCN has said following the release of new workforce figures today.


Picture: iStock

Data from the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) show that 3,962 EU nurses and midwives left the UK register between April 2017 and March this year.

This represents a 29% increase in the number of EU nurses and midwives leaving the register, compared with the same period the year before.

Intake of EU nurses and midwives into the UK register fell between April 2017 and March 2018, with only 805 joining the register compared with 6,382 the year before – a decline of 87%.

Reasons for staff exodus

As part of its data collection process, the NMC surveyed a sample of people (3,496) who left its register between June and November last year.

Of the departing EU nurses and midwives who responded (288), nearly 47% said the UK's decision to leave the EU had encouraged them to look for work elsewhere.

One EU nurse respondent said uncertainty after the referendum had forced the hand of many nurses: ‘After the result of the Brexit referendum, it took a long time to announce what would happen to EU nurses working in the UK.

‘My colleagues and I needed to plan our lives, and could not wait for a letter telling us to leave.’

Government under fire

RCN general secretary Janet Davies said the government was to blame for EU nurses leaving the UK.

‘It feels that efforts to boost the number of nurses are being dragged down by a botched Brexit,’ she said.

‘Nurses returning home, or giving Britain a miss entirely, are doing so because their rights are not clear enough.

‘Theresa May must use every opportunity to say they are welcome here and valued in healthcare.’

NMC chief executive Jackie Smith also expressed concern about the figures.

‘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 [that Brexit would not affect staff numbers],’ she said.

Further figures

In terms of UK nurses and midwives, there was some good news with 1,321 more on the NMC register compared with last year.

However, the total number of nurses and midwives on the NMC register is still more than 2,000 less than figures for April 2015 to March 2016.


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