Numbers of nurses registering for the first time falling

The Royal College of Nursing has said that figures highlighting how the number of UK nurses and midwives registering to work in the UK has increased by almost 4,000 as masking 'severe workforce instability’.

New figures, released by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), shows that the number of nurses and midwives registered to work in the UK has increased by almost 4,000 in the past 12 month, meaning there were 693,618 people on the NMC register at the end of September.

However, the figures also showed that the number of UK nurses and midwives joining the register for the first time has fallen, dropping from 24,204 in the year to September 2017 to 22,170 in the year to September 2018. The decline of 2,034 is before the removal of the student bursary in England has taken effect.

Stephanie Aiken, RCN Deputy Director of Nursing, said: “Despite the alarming number of vacancies for registered nurses, and increasing gaps in nursing rotas, the number of newly registered nurses is falling, not rising - with the impact of the withdrawal of funding for nursing students in England two years ago still to come. Our European colleagues are also continuing to leave the UK rather than face post-Brexit uncertainty.

“Just one day after a coalition of experts showed Brexit could leave the UK short of 51,000 nurses, we get confirmation that even more EU nurses left in the last year. Meanwhile, fewer than 900 signed up to work in the UK compared to 10,000 only two years ago, putting more pressure on services that have come to rely on European nursing staff."

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