NMC ‘alarmed’ by significant rise in nurses quitting the profession

Figures published by the Nursing and Midwifery Council today show there continues to be an increase in nurses and midwives leaving its […]

Sarah Jane
2 November 2017

Figures published by the Nursing and Midwifery Council today show there continues to be an increase in nurses and midwives leaving its register.

The report by the nursing regulator reveals that over the last year the total number of UK nurses and midwives leaving the profession has increased by 9% while the number of EU registrants leaving has increased by an astounding 67%.


Combined with a dramatic drop in the number of EU staff joining the NMC register, the NHS is set to face a serious staffing crisis.

Between October 2015 and September 2016 a total of 31,178 nurses and midwives left the register but between October 2016 and September 2017 that figure increased to 35,363.

The report comes only a month after the Royal College of Nursing called for an urgent patient safety review after nurses ‘blow the whistle’ on staffing shortages.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) says it is worried by the ongoing fall in the total number of nurses and midwives and the challenges this could cause the health service in the future.


Jackie Smith, Chief Executive and Registrar of the Nursing and Midwifery Council, said:

“It’s worrying that we are seeing a continuing rise in nurses and midwives leaving the register and our data is clear that this is being driven by both UK and EU registrants.

“These figures continue to highlight the major challenges faced by the UK’s health and care sectors around the recruitment and retention of staff. Nurses and midwives work incredibly hard in very difficult circumstances. Those responsible for workforce matters will no doubt respond to what these trends are showing.”

Janet Davies, Chief Executive and General Secretary of Royal College of Nursing, said:


“These alarming new figures from the NMC represent a double whammy for the NHS and patients.  Not only has the number of UK homegrown nurses quitting the profession gone up – at the same time, significant numbers of the EU-trained nurses on whom the Health Service depends are leaving, and there’s also been a huge drop in nursing staff coming to work here from EU countries.   All of this is happening while the NHS is short of at least 40,000 nurses.

“Theresa May has left it far too late to send out the message that professionals working here are desperately needed, and that she will give them priority in the Brexit negotiations. It is no surprise that, for as long as the Prime Minister fails to do this, many feel they have no choice but to leave”.

You can read the full report on the Nursing and Midwifery Council website.

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