Doubling in number of overseas nurses coming to work in UK

The number of foreign nurses coming to work in Britain has doubled in just one year, a report shows. 

The official figures show more 7,125 nurses who trained abroad registered for work in the UK in 2018/19 – up from 3,525 the year before. 

The Conservatives have pledged to increase the number of nurses by 50,000 over the next five years, including 12,500 nurses from abroad. 

The new figures show the vast majority of nurses coming to Britain from overseas hare trained outside the EU.

They include 1,791 nurses joining the Nursing and Midwifery Register from India, and 3,118 from the Philippines, the analysis by charity the Health Foundation reveals. 

The UK has pledged not to recruit from Indian states which are in receipt of aid from the British government, but the rest of India is not covered by the agreement. And Britain has a memorandum of understanding with the Philippine government allowing it to target healthcare professionals. 

The numbers coming from EU countries have also risen slightly, with 968 such new registrants, up from 805 the previous year.

The study by the Health Foundation shows the NHS is struggling with a 44,000 shortfall in nurses, and warns there could be a shortage of 100,000 such staff within a decade. 

It says as a result, hospitals are relying on less qualified staff – such as healthcare assistants – to fill critical shortages.

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The Health Foundation says the NHS will need to recruit at least 5,000 more international nurses a year until 2023/24.

The Tories have promised 50,000 more nurses, with 18,500 of these coming from retaining existing nurses, 12,500 from overseas, 5,000 via nursing apprenticeships and 14,000 through training. Labour has said it will employ 24,000 more nurses.

While the number of nurses has increasd by 1.5 per cent in a year, the number of managers rose by 6.2 per cent, the study found. 

And the report shows the number of full-time equivalent GPs has fallen from 27,834 in March 2018 to 27,381 in March 2019.

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