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Rise in nurse numbers on register – but NMC cautious about future recruitment

Long-term impact of COVID-19 is unknown, says council chief Andrea Sutcliffe

Long-term impact of COVID-19 is unknown, says council chief Andrea Sutcliffe

New figures show that nursing and midwifery workforce numbers in the UK are increasing, but concerns have been raised about the long-term impact of COVID-19 on recruitment.

Statistics from the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) reveal the number of nurses and midwives in the UK, and nursing associates in England, on its permanent register grew by 7,909 to 724,516 between 1 April and 30 September – an increase of 1.1%.

Breakdown of figures by job title

The number of nurses on the register increased by 5,949 (0.9%) while midwife numbers increased by 937

Long-term impact of COVID-19 is unknown, says council chief Andrea Sutcliffe

The number of older nurses on the NMC register is rising. Picture: iStock

New figures show that nursing and midwifery workforce numbers in the UK are increasing, but concerns have been raised about the long-term impact of COVID-19 on recruitment.

Statistics from the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) reveal the number of nurses and midwives in the UK, and nursing associates in England, on its permanent register grew by 7,909 to 724,516 between 1 April and 30 September – an increase of 1.1%.

Breakdown of figures by job title

The number of nurses on the register increased by 5,949 (0.9%) while midwife numbers increased by 937 (2.5%). The number of dual registrants – people registered as both a nurse and midwife – increased by 9 (0.1%), while the number of nursing associates registered to work in England rose by 1,014 (59.9%).

The number of professionals on the register from outside the European Economic Area grew by 1,557 (1.8%) to 85,873.

The NMC figures also show more professionals aged 56 and over on the permanent register, with this number rising by 4,954 (3.4%) to 150,531.

Staff have ‘proved how strong they can be in the face of adversity’

Andrea Sutcliffe

Commenting on the figures, NMC chief executive Andrea Sutcliffe said: ‘Over the past few months, we’ve needed our dedicated nurses, midwives and nursing associates like never before.

‘Thanks to their expertise and commitment, nursing and midwifery professionals working in health and care settings across all four countries of the UK are proving how strong they can be in the face of adversity.’

NMC chief concerned about affect of COVID-19 on long-term recruitment

Ms Sutcliffe added that it was good news to see growth but warned about the impact of COVID-19 on future recruitment.

‘We cannot be complacent. Nurses, midwives, and nursing associates are at the heart of the UK response to COVID-19, and the long-term impact on their future recruitment and retention is as yet unknown.

‘Together, we must do all we can to nurture, protect and support nurses, midwives and nursing associates so they choose to stay once the COVID-19 crisis has passed.’


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