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UK sees 96% drop in EU nurse applications since Brexit vote

The number of nurses from the EU registering to practise in the UK has dropped by 96% since last year’s Brexit vote, new figures reveal.

In July last year, 1,304 EU nurses registered to work in the UK, falling sharply to 344 in September and a mere 46 in April 2017.

The new data, obtained by the Health Foundation via a Freedom of Information Act request to the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), were unveiled as there is a shortage of 30,000 nurses in England alone.

Health Foundation director of research and economics Anita Charlesworth said the figures ‘should be a wake-up call to politicians and health service leaders’.

She added: ‘Clearly action is needed to offset any further loss of EU nursing staff in the near future. But the overall shortage of 30,000 nurses is not a shortage caused by the Brexit vote.

‘The chronic shortage of nurses is the result of years of short-term planning and cuts to training places. A sustainable, long-term approach to workforce planning is desperately needed.’