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June 03, 2022

Nearly 50% of Newly Recruited Nurses & midwives come from Outside the UK

Almost half of the new nurses and midwives registered to work in the UK in the last one year have come from abroad. The overall number which is over 23,000 is a record high and comes as the UK has struggled to increase the number of indigenous nurses to join the workforce.

Nurse leaders have questioned the sustainability of this international recruitment on the current scale.

Data released by the Nursing and Midwifery Council for 2021-22 also showed that more nurses are leaving the profession. Last year, more than 27,000 left the register, a 13% increase on the year before.

This is however nor surprising as a good number of staff put off retirement to help out in the emergency phase of the pandemic. The increase in the number of persons leaving has been attributed to retirement (4 in 10) and too much pressure (nearly 1 in 5).

Call For Long-Term Plan To Help 'Burnt-Out' Nurses

As the winter approaches, there are concerns over shortage in nursing staff.

In general, the number of nurses including nursing associates increased by nearly 26,500 to more than 758,000, the highest number ever. Of this number, 20% are from abroad.

Almost all the new nurses coming in the last year were trained outside Europe. There is now a reversal in trend as Europe supplied more than the rest of the world before Brexit but now it is India and the Philippines that supply the most.

New nurses statistics

As at the time of writing, around one in 10 nursing posts are unfilled.

Nursing and Midwifery Council chief executive Andrea Sutcliffe said it was "good news" that the register was at the highest level ever, judging from the pressures on staff in the past two years. She however added that the numbers leaving because of work pressure was troubling.

She also said that the UK becoming as much reliant as it is on internationally trained staff was another "note of caution".

"These professionals make a welcome and vital contribution, but we can't take them for granted."

The government said the NHS followed ethical recruitment practices, as it did not recruit nurses from a red list of countries which have declared shortages of health care staff.

All parts of the UK have put plans in motion to recruit more nurses and midwives into the NHS.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said the overall rise in nurse numbers was pleasing while stating his determination to continue growing the workforce. He said this progress will help England achieve the government's manifesto promise to recruit 50,000 more nurses by 2024.

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