The increase comes after a “welcome fall over the previous four years”.
New figures published by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) reveal a spike in nurses and midwives leaving the profession.
The latest annual data from the NMC reveals a total of 27,133 nurses and midwives made the decision to exit the profession between April 2021 and March 2022.
This figure has increased by 13% from the previous year after a “welcome fall over the previous four years”.
The top five reasons for leaving the profession were, retirement, “personal circumstances”, too much pressure at work, negative workplace culture and plans to leave the UK entirely.
Publishing the data, Andrea Sutcliffe, Chief Executive and Registrar at the NMC, warned those who left “shared troubling stories about the pressure they’ve had to bear during the pandemic”.
It comes alongside the news that international nurses now make up half of those joining the profession.
A sharp rise in leavers.
Despite around 40,000 registered nursing vacancies across the NHS in England, MPs have twice voted against plans to publish a regular workforce plan and assessment.
Responding to the news, RCN General Secretary and Chief Executive, Pat Cullen, said: “The loss of 25,000 registered nurses last year is being felt profoundly by both patients and nurses alike.
“When we have tens of thousands of vacant nurse jobs, a sharp rise in leavers should not be overlooked while we welcome new recruits. Ministers should avoid overclaiming today – nursing staff tell us these shortages are biting more than ever.
“With an imminent government decision on NHS pay and the pay review body reports due this month, these figures are a reminder of the scale of the challenge and why radical action is needed to boost the nursing workforce.
The RCN has called for a sustainable workforce plan, adding “In the interests of safe patient care, ministers across the UK must act decisively to retain today’s experienced nurses and inspire tomorrow’s.”