The number of nurses has risen by 5,949 in the six months.
The total number of nurses on the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) register has reached an all-time high, according to new data.
Published by the regulator today, the latest mid-year figures reveal the total number of Registered Nurses on the NMC’s permanent register has increased by 5,949 (0.9%) in the past six months. An increase has also been seen in the number of Midwives and Nursing Associates.
The increase has come from “domestic growth” – nurses who have trained and continue to practice in the UK.
With many nurses staying past retirement to help their colleagues, the data also shows fewer people leaving the register and an increase in the number of registrants who are over 56 years old.
Overall trends reveal that the number of nurses has risen by just 26,135 in the past five years – meaning at the current trajectory, it would the Government ten years to meet its pre-election promise of 50,000 more nurses.
An unprecedented time.
Andrea Sutcliffe CBE, Chief Executive and Registrar at the NMC, said: “During an unprecedented time when the coronavirus pandemic brought the flow of professionals from overseas to a short-term standstill, we may have expected overall growth to slow.
“It’s therefore good news to see the growth in our permanent register at this mid-year point is broadly consistent with the same period last year – and even more encouraging to see increases in people from the UK choosing to join and stay.
“However, we cannot be complacent. Nurses, midwives and nursing associates are at the heart of the UK response to Covid-19 and the long term impact on their future recruitment and retention is as yet unknown.
“Together, we must do all we can to nurture, protect and support nurses, midwives and nursing associates so they choose to stay once the Covid-19 crisis has passed. That way our professionals can continue the vital role they have in providing the safe, kind and effective nursing and midwifery care and support the public will need more than ever.”
Not even close to enough.
The Royal College of Nursing has warned that despite the growth the numbers still fail to meet the number of nurses required.
Dame Donna Kinnair, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said: “The importance of all nursing staff has never been clearer and it is good news to see an increase in the number of registered staff.
“But the growth we are seeing is not even close to enough to fill existing gaps. The additional 6,000 nurses are welcome but that still leaves tens of thousands of unfilled roles in the UK.
“This is even more worrying when we know a third are considering their future in this profession, and those who remain are suffering burn out and stress.
“Today, we are going to Westminster and calling on the UK Government to back us with investment that values the work of nursing staff. An immediate pay rise of 12.5 per cent will begin to reflect the skills and complexity in nursing.