The number of nurses working in the UK rises by 30,000 to an all-time high, but industry leaders warn many are leaving the profession early due to burnout or exhaustion
- There are now 788,638 nurses, midwives and nurses in the UK
- But the Royal College of Nursing warned the NHS was ‘too dependent’ on foreign workers
The number of nurses working in the UK has risen to an all-time high, figures today show.
There are now 788,638 nurses, midwives and nurses registered to work in the UK, representing about 1.2 per cent of the population.
The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), which released the figures, welcomed the rise of more than 30,000 in a year but sharply warned about the number leaving the profession prematurely.
The NMC pointed to “worrying findings” from its departure survey showing that many decided to leave the profession due to burnout or exhaustion, concerns about the quality of care, workload or staffing.
Just over half of leavers (52 percent) told the NMC that they would retire ‘earlier than planned’ in 2022.
(Stock Photo) There are now 788,638 nurses, midwives and nursing staff, accounting for about 1.2 percent of the population, according to the Nursing and Midwifery Council
They also revealed that more than half of new registrants have been trained abroad, leading the Royal College of Nursing to warn the NHS that it has become ‘too reliant’ on unsustainable overseas recruitment.
The union has begun voting its nearly 300,000 members for a new strike as it pursues a new ‘double-digit’ wage deal from ministers.
RCN chief executive Pat Cullen said: ‘With half of all new start-ups coming from abroad, it is clear that the government’s failure to draw up a domestic workforce plan has hit hard.
“While internationally trained nursing staff are a vital and valued part of the NHS, over-reliance on staff from abroad, including those countries with shortages of their own, is not sustainable.”
According to the NMC’s latest report, there was a record 52,148 new members last year, nearly half of whom trained abroad.
The NMC said professionals trained around the world now account for one in five nurses, midwives and nurses able to practice in the UK.
Wes Streeting MP, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, accused the government of “poaching staff” from countries with their own shortages, adding that Labor would “foster the homegrown talent the NHS needs … paid for by non- stupid to abolish”.
Health Secretary Steve Barclay said: ‘We are on track to deliver 50,000 more nurses by next year, with nearly 43,000 more in the NHS compared to September 2019.