• There has been a 96% drop in nurses from EU between July last year and April this year.
  • From a high of 1,304 in July last year to 344 two months later in September, numbers have continued to fall, with just 46 EU nurse registrants in April.

EU nurses chart

New figures have revealed a 96% drop in the number of nurses from the EU registering to practise in the UK since July last year.

The figures were obtained by the Health Foundation from a Freedom of Information request to the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). They show that after a sharp decline from a high of 1,304 in July last year to 344 two months later in September, numbers have continued to fall, with just 46 EU nurse registrants in April this year.

The UK has repeatedly used international recruitment as a stop gap measure to fill staffing shortages, and since 2008 the majority of international nurses registering in the UK have come from within the EU.

The reason for the decrease is likely to be a combination of the UK’s decision to leave the EU and changes to language testing for new nurses from the EU.

But the fall in EU registrants suggests that a more sustainable long-term approach to workforce planning is urgently needed.