Half of new nurses in the UK come from abroad

Almost half (48%) of the nearly 48,000 new nurses and midwives in the UK registered last year were from another country, a dependency on foreign labor that is causing concern.

The vast majority of these professionals (66%) were from India and the Philippinesaccording to annual figures released on Wednesday by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), the profession’s regulatory body.

The figures show an overall increase in the number of registered professionals in this sector in the United Kingdom – a total of 758,300 -, but the number of people who leave the job, due to retirement or other reasons such as “excess pressure” or ” bad work environment,” is increasing.

A total of 27,133 people left the registry in the 2021/22 period, 13% more than the previous year.

Andrea Sutcliffe, director general of the NMC, welcomed the global increase in the number of nurses and midwives “considering all the pressures of the last two years”, in a context of pandemic and Brexit.

“But a closer examination of our data reveals some worrying signs“, he warned, citing increased attrition and a workforce that has become “more reliant on foreign-trained professionals.”

He recalled that two years ago, the impact of Covid-19 on international travel caused a “sharp decrease” in the number of professionals from abroad and warned that this could happen again.

Immigration control was one of the central issues of the Brexit campaign in 2016, and last year new rules came into force to favor the entry of only very highly qualified workers, although with flexibility for key sectors such as health.

“Has been a continued decline over the last five years in the number of graduates of the majority of the countries of the European Union”, the report points out, specifying that for the first time “Greece has replaced Spain as one of the five main training countries in the EU for people who enroll in the registry”.

If in March 2018 Spanish nurses (6,261) were the second most numerous Europeans behind Romanians (7,720), in March 2022 their number had almost halved (3,230) while Romanians, Portuguese, Italians and Poles recorded slight declines.

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