Nursing and midwifery numbers rising

14 November 2018

In the past year the number of nurses and midwives registered to work in the UK has increased by almost 4000, the NMC reports.


At the end of September 2018 there were 693,618 nurses and midwives registered to work in the UK – the highest September level in recent years and 3880 more than at the end of September 2017.

The NMC says the increase has been driven by a rise in UK-trained nurses and midwives (an increase of 3457) and those trained outside the EU (an increase of 2808). There was a 69.5% increase of people joining the register for the first time from outside the EU.

The figures also reveal that the number of nurses and midwives from the EU decreased by 2385, however, the overall number of EU registrants remains above pre-2015 levels.

Another decrease was shown in the numbers with dual nurse and midwife registration. The figures have been gradually dropping over the last five years with 688 less dual registrants in September 2018 than in September 2017 and 3576 less than in 2013. 

NMC interim chief executive and registrar Sue Killen said the overall figures paint an improving picture: ‘We’re seeing increasing numbers of home-grown nurses and midwives, while it’s clear that improvements to the way we register people from outside the EU are making a real difference to the numbers ready and able to deliver the very best care to people across the UK.’

However, Sue added that despite the overall increase in numbers it remains difficult to predict what will happen in the coming years, because it’s unlikely that the full impact of the decision to remove the bursary for students in England has been realised.

She said that it also remains essential that there is proper investment in the continuing professional development of nurses and midwives if we are to keep hold of the health and care sector’s most vital asset.

‘We’ll continue to play our part in supporting nurses, midwives and in the future nursing associates to register to work in the UK as well as promoting and enabling professionalism throughout their careers,’ she added.


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