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EU Nurses and Midwives Shun the UK as Place to Work by katty : April 28, 2018, 07:12:12 AM
Nurses and midwives from EU countries are shunning the UK as a place to work, with the number of leavers continuing to rise and a dramatic fall in the numbers of new registrants over the past year, the latest figures* from the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) reveal.

But there are signs that the steady fall in the numbers of UK trained nurses/midwives registered to work may be levelling off, the figures show.

Between April 2017 and March 2018, 3,962 people left the register — an increase of 29 per cent. Over the same period 805 EU nurses and midwives joined the register compared with 6,382 the previous year before — a drop of 87 per cent.

At the end of March 2018 there were 690,278 midwives and nurses on the NMC register – 495 fewer than at the end of March 2017.

After a period of sustained decline the number of UK trained nurses and midwives registered to work seems to be stabilising.

The number joining the register for the first time is at its highest level for four years while 4,034 fewer people left it.

The number of nurses and midwives joining the register from outside the EU has also risen for the fourth consecutive year, with 1,093 more nurses and midwives on the register than in March 2017.

The number of adult, learning disability and mental health nurses eligible to work in the UK has reduced over the past few years while the number of children’s nurses has increased year on year for the past four years.

“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, while the picture for UK trained nurses and midwives appears to be stabilising,” said Jackie Smith, NMC chief executive and registrar.

The NMC surveyed 3,496 people who left the register between June and November 2017 to find out their reasons for leaving. EU nurses and midwives cited leaving the UK and Brexit as their top reasons, while retirement, staffing levels and changes to personal circumstances were the main reasons cited by UK registrants.

“We asked people why they were leaving and for the small number of EU nurses and midwives who responded, it’s clear that Brexit is playing a part, while retirement and staffing levels are clear factors in the decision of UK nurses and midwives to leave the profession,” said Ms Smith.

She added: “The government has announced an increase in undergraduate training places and those responsible for workforce planning should continue to look at what can be done to better support the nursing profession at this difficult time.”

Commenting on the figures, Royal College of Midwives CEO Gill Walton said the health secretary's announcement of 3000 more midwives a few weeks ago was “welcome news.”

She added: “What is important is that any increase in midwives feeds through to an increase in midwives actually working in the NHS, as the significant pressures on maternity services, midwives and other maternity staff remain, as the NMC survey shows.”

She said she wasn’t surprised by the fall in the number of [European Economic Area] midwives “given the uncertainty that has surrounded their position since the referendum on EU membership. Our own research shows a similarly worrying drop.”

She continued: “This remains a major concern for the RCM and there is a pressing need to finally give EU midwives the certainty they need about their status in the UK.”

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