Read our latest registration data report

Published on 08 May 2019

We've published figures from April 2018 to March 2019

Our latest figures published today (Wednesday 8 May) show around 8,000 more nurses, midwives and nursing associates are now registered to work in the UK compared to 12 months ago.

At a time when every report on the health and care workforce shines a spotlight on the shortfall of nursing and midwifery professionals needed to deliver the best, safest care for people; our data report explores the numbers of nurses, midwives and nursing associates joining and leaving the register between 1 April 2018 and 31 March 2019.

The data reveals a 126 percent leap in the number of nurses and midwives from outside of the EU registering to work in the UK for the first time – rising from 2,720 last year to 6,157 this year. This follows a number of changes we’ve made to streamline our systems and better support those applicants who meet the required high standards, through the registration process.

Figures also show an overall increase of more than 5,000 UK trained nurses, midwives and, in England only, nursing associates, driven by an increase of 1,567 joining the register for the first time and a decrease in those leaving.

The number of nursing and midwifery professionals from the EU continues to decline. Following a peak of 38,024 in March 2017, the number has reduced to 33,035 this year – a 13 percent drop (nearly 5,000) over two years.

The number of midwives registered to work in the UK continues to increase – rising from 43,641 to 44,204 – an increase of 563 (1.3 per cent). This includes those who hold both a nursing and midwifery registration. 

This year we asked over 11,000 people who left our register over a six month period in 2018 the reasons why they left. Findings from that survey show that the top reason for leaving was retirement, however almost a third (1,050) of the 3,504 respondents cited too much pressure leading to stress and/or poor mental health as a top reason for leaving.

Elsewhere in the survey findings, 51 percent (92) of those nurses and midwives who trained within the EU, left the register and responded to the survey stated Brexit as a reason for encouraging them to consider working outside the UK.

While 20 percent (630) of the 3,210 nurses and midwives who trained in the UK and responded to the survey said they were disillusioned by the quality of the care provided to patients.

When looking at the age profile of the register, the under 30 age group is growing, so too is the 51 and over age group. While the proportion of people on our register in the 31–50 age group is decreasing.

Andrea Sutcliffe, our Chief Executive and Registrar, said:

“Nurses, midwives and nursing associates make an enormous contribution to the health and wellbeing of millions of people each year so I’m delighted to see such an increase in those joining our register.

“It’s encouraging to know this is being driven by both UK trained and overseas professionals. It’s clear the changes we’ve introduced – to make it more straightforward for those people with the right skills and knowledge to come and work here from abroad – are making a real difference. 

“However, we only have to look at the well documented concerns around high vacancy and turnover rates that exist right across health and social care to know there’s a long way to go before we have all the people we need to ensure the best and safest care for everyone. 

“And while there has been a drop in the number of people leaving the register, our survey fires yet another warning shot – that the pressures nurses and midwives face are real and must be taken seriously if we are to properly attract, support and retain the workforce that we need now, and for the future.”

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