Jump in nurses from abroad helps stem fall in numbers

UKCC figures show small rise in registered nurses but not everywhere will
notice the improvement

The fall in the numbers on the nursing register has been halted, according
to the latest figures from the UKCC.

The UKCC’s annual statistics show there were 634,529 practitioners on its
register in the year ending March 2000, compared with 634,229 the year before.
The increase in numbers is owed both to more UK-trained nurses coming on stream
and to a substantial increase in the number of overseas nurses coming to the UK

But, the overall increase does not mean an improvement for all parts of the
country. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all saw a drop in numbers while
England showed an increase, possibly because most overseas-trained nurses and
midwives come to work in England.

RCN general secretary Christine Hancock said, "While it is good news
that there is slight increase in numbers on the nursing register, it is clear
that the proportion of home-grown nurses is still in decline.

"These figures paint a picture of a UK nursing workforce being
sustained by overseas recruitment, yet countries across the world are now
fishing from a depleted pool of nurses and midwives globally.

"If the UK could manage to hold on to at least some of our 5,000 nurses
who leave every year to work abroad, the NHS in turn would not be so reliant on
nurses from overseas. We need to make sure nurses feel sufficiently valued in
the UK, rather than believing they can only achieve proper pay and career
progression by leaving the country."

Of the nurses on the register, 3,271 recorded an OH qualification, which was
a drop of 86 on last year’s figure of 3,357 nurses entering a recordable
qualification in occupational health.

Other notable trends include an increase in the number of men on the
register. The proportion of men rose from 9.48 per cent to 9.75 per cent, the
highest ever recorded. The proportion of people aged over 50 also rose, from
23.3 per cent to 23.9 per cent. Only 46.5 per cent of people on the register
are now aged under 40, compared with 58 per cent at the start of the decade.

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