in the UK
June 19, 2017
A struggling NHS is facing up to the news that substantially fewer EU nurses are choosing to work in the UK than this time last year, whilst considerably more are deciding to leave.
There has been a 96% drop in the number of EU nurses registering to work in the UK since the EU referendum, according to the latest migration figures.
Whilst the government has made concessions over the past few years to encourage the immigration of foreign nurses coming to the UK, for example by including them on the Shortage Occupations List, there is a suspicion that other areas of UK immigration legislation are acting as a deterrent, such as the introduction of English language tests in January 2016.
Many are linking the decline in numbers to brexit. Jackie Smith, however, chief executive of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), has stated that whilst this is ‘the first sign of change following the EU referendum’ it is too early to ‘definitively’ link the trend to brexit.
Overall, there are 650,000 nurses on the NMC register – just over 36,000 of these have been trained in the EU whilst another 67,000 come from outside of the UK.
The figures have been called ‘profoundly worrying’ by the health spokesman for the Liberal Democrats and a cause for ‘serious concern’ by Janet Davies of the Royal College of Nursing, especially if they signify a long-term drop in numbers coming to the UK from the EU.