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Brexit would only deepen NHS staffing crisis

A leave decision is likely to reduce nurse numbers from the EU – just when the health service needs them the most, says James Buchan

Lies, damned lies and Brexit statistics.

It’s not been a good month for anyone who espouses the benefits of evidence-based policy and politics.

Only last week, the MP who chairs the House of Commons Health Committee switched from ‘leave’ to ‘remain’, citing misuse of data by the leave campaign.

One of the key areas for ill-informed Brexit debate and evidence abuse has been migration. So just how important is the European Union as a source of working nurses in the UK?

Nursing and Midwifery Council data shows there were 673,000 nurses, midwives and health visitors on the UK register and reporting a UK address in March this year.

About 85,000 of these registrants had been trained outside the UK, and the majority of these – almost 60,000 – were from non-EU countries, such as the Philippines and India. Only 26,000 (or 4% of registrants) were


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