EU nurse applicants drop by 96% since Brexit vote

There has been a sharp drop in nurses registering to work in the UK since the EU referendum, figures suggest.

Last July, 1,304 nurses from the EU joined the Nursing and Midwifery Council register, compared to 46 in April this year, a fall of 96%.

The Health Foundation said the findings could not be more stark and said they should act as a "wake-up call".

But the NMC said the introduction of English language testing for EU nurses is also likely to have played a role.

It comes as the NHS is already struggling with nurse vacancies and, without this supply line, shortages could get worse.

In May, research by the Royal College of Nursing found one in nine posts in England was vacant.

The union said it meant the NHS was 40,000 nurses short of what was needed.

Vital supply line

The figures - obtained by the Health Foundation under the Freedom of Information Act - cover the numbers applying to go on the register so they do not necessarily mean they are employed by the NHS.

But they give an indication of the supply line from the EU which provides a significant proportion of the workforce.

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