UK: nurses and midwifes from the EU/EEA joining and leaving the register 2014-2019

Since the UK made the decision to leave the European Union, the number of new nurses and midwives from the European Economic Area (EEA) has significantly decreased. In the year 2018/19, the number of new registrants from the EEA was less than one thousand, while almost 9.4 thousand joined from the EEA in 2015/16, before the UK’s referendum on EU membership.  

Brexit impact?

It is true for most of those who are leaving the nursing register from the EU and EEA that Brexit has had an impact on their decision to do so. In a survey of leavers in 2018, 66 percent cited that they are leaving or have left the UK, with 51 percent saying that Brexit has encouraged them to consider working outside of the UK.

General trend in nurses in the UK

Since 2016, the number of nurses overall in the UK has fallen. In 2018 there were approximately 639 thousand nurses in the UK, down from 675 thousand in 2016. Although, in 2010 there were around 500 thousand nurses so the general trend since then has been an increase. Additionally, the number of nurses joining from outside the EEA has increased significantly since 2016, and the number leaving has slightly decreased.

Number of nurses, midwifes and nursing associates from the EEA joining and leaving the nursing register in the United Kingdom (UK) from 2014/15 to 2018/19

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Release date

May 2019


United Kingdom

Survey time period

2014 to 2019

Supplementary notes

The joining data does not include those who are re-joining after previously leaving.

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Statistics on "EU membership referendum in the United Kingdom (UK)"

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