The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) have published data on the numbers of registered nurses and midwives in the UK.
The figures show an 87% fall in new registrations of nurses and midwives from elsewhere in EEA and a 29% increase in nurses and midwives from the rest of Europe quitting the register.
It is this decline that is driving the fall in nursing numbers in the UK and the NMC’s report shows that Brexit is a major cause of this decline – with 47% of nurses and midwives from the EEA explicitly naming Brexit as one their top three reasons for quitting.
Commenting, Chuka Umunna MP, a leading supporter of the People’s Vote campaign, said:
“We were promised that voting for Brexit would deliver an additional £350 million a week for the NHS when in reality it hasn’t brought in a single penny and has instead exacerbated an existing crisis in staffing.
“Ministers repeatedly deny there is a crisis in nursing numbers but these figures make it clear: Brexit is making it impossible to recruit enough nurses to sustain our NHS.
“All this has happened before we have even left and the government’s own assessment is that quitting will cut economic growth and force up government borrowing – threatening more cuts in NHS spending.
“As the threat to the NHS from Brexit becomes ever clearer, more and more people are joining the demand for a People’s Vote on the final Brexit deal.”
Commenting, Dr Mike Galsworthy of campaign group Healthier IN the EU said:
"Before Brexit, EU nurses were providing all the growth in NHS nurse numbers - at several thousand a year - while numbers of UK and non-EU nurses in the NHS were not increasing. They are now declining fast. Numbers of EU nurses leaving actually outweighs the weak growth in UK and non-EU nurses in the NHS. Brexit is straining the staffing system at a time of staffing crisis -- and that has dangerous knock-on effects."
Notes to editors
The NMC’s report can be read here: https://www.nmc.org.uk/globalassets/sitedocuments/other-publications/the-nmc-register-2018.pdf