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RCN responds to NMC figures for September 2018

Press Response 07/11/2018

NMC figures show increase in nursing register but masks workforce instability 

Commenting on new figures from the Nursery and Midwifery Council (NMC) on the number of nurses and midwifes joining and leaving NMC register, Stephanie Aiken, RCN Deputy Director of Nursing, said:

“This positive overall headline increase in the size of the workforce risks masking severe instability.

"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."

"The figures show that fewer UK nurses and midwives left the NMC register in the last year compared to the 12 months before. However, the increase in the number of international nurses and midwives joining the register suggests employers are looking further afield to fill staffing gaps. 

"It is imperative that workforce planning delivers a sustainable nursing workforce in the UK with tens of thousands more registered nurses joining, rather than an over reliance on an ageing workforce choosing not to leave.

"Following the bursary removal two years ago in England, the number of students accepted onto university nursing courses has fallen, which may result in fewer UK nurses in future. "The hope of increasing student numbers by scrapping the bursary has failed conclusively. If we are to encourage more people into nursing, the Department of Health in England, like health departments in the other countries of the UK, needs to provide financial support and put a minimum of £1bn a year back into nurse education - the future of patient care is at stake.”

ENDS  


The latest figures for the number of nurses and midwives registered to work in the UK are available on the Nursing and Midwifery Council website

Analysis of the figures show:

  • Between October 2017 – September 2018:
    • the number of EU nurses and midwives joining the register for the first time was 888.
    • the number of EU nurses and midwives who left the register was 3560 
  • Between October 2015 – September 2016:
    • the number of EU nurses and midwives joining the register for the first time was 10178.
    • the number of EU nurses and midwives who left the register was 2435.
  • Between October 2017 – September 2018:
    • the number of UK nurses and midwives joining the register for the first time was 22170.
    • the number of UK nurses and midwives who left the register was 24369 
  • Between October 2016 – September 2017:
    • the number of UK nurses and midwives joining the register for the first time was 24204.
    • the number of UK nurses and midwives who left the register was 29019.

 

Press Office Contacts

Hannah Law, Media Officer:
020 7647 3696 

Katherine Jarman, Head of Media:
020 7647 3484

Gareth Arnold, Senior Media Officer:
020 7647 3770

Daniel Sutherland, Senior Media Officer:

020 7647 3695