Number Of EU Nurses And Midwives 'Drops By 13%' In The Run Up To Brexit

But the overall number of nursing and midwifery staff grew by 8,000 in the last year, a report revealed.
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The number of EU nurses and midwives in the UK has dropped by 13% in the run-up to Brexit, new figures have revealed.

In the two years from March 2017, the number of nursing and midwifery professionals from the European Union fell from 38,024 to 33,035, according to a report by the Nursing and Midwifery Council – a cut of almost 5,000 staff.

Despite the drop, an extra 8,000 nurses signed up in the past year, with the number of workers from outside the EU soaring by 126%.

Between March 2018 and April 2019, the figure leapt to 6,157 from just 2,720 the year before.

Meanwhile, the report – published on Wednesday – showed an increase of more than 5,000 UK-trained nurses, midwives and nursing associates on the register, including 1,567 new recruits.

But MPs have warned that cuts to the workforce from the EU show that Brexit is “already causing huge damage” to the NHS.

A survey by the NMC of EU nurses and midwives who left the register in 2018/19 revealed that 51% named Brexit as a reason behind their decision to consider work outside the UK.

The report also warned that just 968 EEA nurses and midwives arrived to work in the NHS last year, compared to 9,389 the year before the Brexit referendum.

Change UK MP Sarah Wollaston, who leads parliament’s health and social care committee, said: “We now know that Brexit is already causing huge damage to our NHS, with far fewer nurses and midwives arriving from Europe.

“This is intensifying an already serious shortfall in qualified healthcare staff and is putting our health service into a critical condition.”

“No-one voted for a Brexit that leaves our NHS worse-off,” she added.

Royal College of Midwives general secretary Gill Walton said the Brexit threatened to make “already stretched and short-staffed” maternity services “even worse”.

“EU midwives provide NHS care to tens of thousands of women every year and they make a vital contribution to the provision of care - we’re lucky to have them.”

But health secretary Matt Hancock welcomed the report. “It’s excellent news to see more nurses and midwives are joining our brilliant NHS from at home and abroad and we value each and every one,” he said.

“As we put £33.9bn extra into our NHS we need to see yet more people to more people to make a career in our health service and make it the best possible employer for existing staff.”


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