THE number of EU nurses applying to work in the UK has dropped by a whopping 96% since last year’s Brexit referendum.
Last July saw 1,304 nurses from the EU join the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) register, compared to just 46 in April of this year.
The Health Foundation has said the findings, which come at a time of chronic shortages in the UK’s National Health Service, could not be more stark, adding that they should act as a ‘wake-up call’.
The NMC said new English language testing for EU nurses is also likely to have played a part in the drop in applications.
The NHS is already struggling with nurse vacancies, meaning shortages could now become a lot worse.
Recent research by the Royal College of Nursing in May found one in nine posts in England was vacant.
The results of the study mean the NHS is 40,000 nurses short of what is needed.
Anita Charlesworth, director of research and economics at the Health Foundation said: “Without EU nurses, it will be even harder for the NHS and other employers to find the staff they need to provide safe patient care.
“The findings should be a wake-up call to politicians and health service leaders.”