UK faces healthcare recruitment crisis as nurse numbers dwindle

New figures reveal challenges in recruiting and retaining healthcare staff as numbers of registered nurses and midwives diminish

The UK could be headed for a care recruitment crisis, according to new figures published by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).
The statistics show that an increasing number of nurses and midwives have continued to leave the NMC’s register over the last 12 months.
In July, the NMC released figures which showed that, for the first time, there were more nurses and midwives leaving the register than joining it. Today’s figures show that trend is continuing. Over the last 12 months the number of UK graduates leaving the profession has increased by nine percent, as shown in the table below.
The number of nurses and midwives from Europe leaving the register has also increased by 67%, while the number joining the register from the EU has dropped dramatically from 10,178 last year to 1,107 this year, a decrease of 89%.
Number of nurses and midwives leaving the register by country of initial registration
October 2015 to September 2016
October 2016 to September 2017
Rest of the world
While the number of nurses and midwives leaving the register from the UK continues to rise, indications are that the number joining remains static when compared with the previous 12-month period.
Jackie Smith, Chief Executive and Registrar of the Nursing and Midwifery Council, said: “It’s worrying that we are seeing a continuing rise in nurses and midwives leaving the register and our data is clear that this is being driven by both UK and EU registrants.
“These figures continue to highlight the major challenges faced by the UK’s health and care sectors around the recruitment and retention of staff. Nurses and midwives work incredibly hard in very difficult circumstances. Those responsible for workforce matters will no doubt respond to what these trends are showing.”
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