Nursing and midwifery numbers rising

7 November 2018

The number of nurses and midwives registered to work in the UK increased by almost 4,000 in the past twelve months, according to latest figures from the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).

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

The increase has been driven by a rise in UK trained nurses and midwives and those trained outside the EU.

The number of people trained in the UK and registered to work has increased by 3,457 over the last twelve months. While numbers from outside the EU have increased by 2,808. 

Latest figures also show that the number of people on the register from the EU continues to decline with 2,385 fewer nurses and midwives registered to work. Despite this decline, the overall number of EU nurses and midwives remains well above pre-2015 levels.

The number of midwives registered to work in the UK is continuing to rise – with the last five years seeing a modest year on year increase. 

Sue Killen, Interim Chief Executive and Registrar of the Nursing and Midwifery Council, said:

“These 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 it’s not all good news as there is a continuing decline in nurses and midwives applying to join the register from the EU.

“Despite the overall increase in numbers it remains difficult to predict what will happen in the coming years. That’s because it’s unlikely that we’ve see the full impact of the decision in 2017 to remove the bursary for students.

“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.”


Notes for editors

  1. For media enquiries, please contact NMC press office on 020 7681 5649 or email ​
  2. The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) is the independent professional regulator for nurses and midwives in the UK. We exist to protect the public. We do this by maintaining the register of qualified nurses and midwives and setting standards of education, training, conduct and performance. We make sure that nurses and midwives keep their skills and knowledge up to date through a regular revalidation process. If concerns are raised about the standards of a registered nurse or midwife, we have a duty to investigate and, where necessary, take action to protect the public.