Between July 2016 and April 2017 there has been a 96% decline in EU nurses and midwives applying to join the Nursing and Midwifery Council register.
According to the latest figures by Health Foundation under the Freedom of Information Act, 1,304 nurses and midwives registered in July 2016, in comparison to just 46 in April 2017.
Director for Policy, Employment Relations and Communications at the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), Jon Skewes, said: “This is a staggering drop and one that worries the RCM greatly. We said before the [EU] Referendum that we feared it would put off potential midwives coming to the UK and this is proving to be the case.”
According to the RCM, there is a shortage of 3,500 midwives in England which was highlighted in the union’s Gathering Storm Report published in March this year.
“This outlines why it is so critical that the Government invests in maternity services and in midwives for the NHS. We have had this critical midwife shortage for over a generation and this Government’s failure to invest in the NHS is doing a great disservice to mothers, babies and their families, and to the dedicated midwives in our NHS who have to work in a system where demand is far outstripping the resources available,” he added.
The figures show the number of applications submitted to go on the register and do not reflect the exact number of nurses and midwives employed by the NHS.
However, they do provide an indication that EU nurses and midwives make up a significant proportion of the overall workforce.
Currently there are over 650,000 nurses and midwives registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council.
36,000 of these were trained in the EU, with 67,000 coming to work from other countries and the rest are from the UK.
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