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Brexit Fears Prompting EU Nurses to desert UK, Says RCN

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN), Freedom of Information request revealed that nearly 3,000 EU nurses working in the UK left the Nursing and Midwifery Council register in 2016. The RCN says the Brexit fears are prompting EU nurses to desert the UK.

Following the Brexit Vote in June 2016, EU nurses joining the Nursing and Midwifery Council register fell to fewer than 200 per month compared to about 800 a month for the same period in 2015. A separate Freedom of Information request has shown that 2,700 EU nurses already working in the UK left the NMC register in 2016.

The Chief Executive of RCN, Janet Davies said that the EU nurses need a clear signal from Prime Minister, Theresa May that they are wanted and welcome to stay. The failure from the government to guarantee their right to remain is leaving soaring numbers heading for the door. Few EU nurses are able to live with such uncertainty.

She further added that the Government is turning off the supply of qualified overseas nurses at the very moment the health service is in a staffing crisis like never before. They cannot afford to lose the international workers the National Health Service (NHS) relies on.

Due to a shortage of British nurses, the NHS hospitals and community services have increasingly relied on international recruitment. It is expected that around one in three nurse will retire within the next 10 years and currently 24,000 nursing posts are unfilled in England.

Meanwhile, the NMC has officially agreed to become the regulator of the new nursing associate role, following thoughtful discussion with the Department of Health.

Commenting on the announcement, Philip Dunne, the health minister said that robust professional regulation was significant for delivering high quality care for patients.

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