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The UK’s regulator for nursing, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), has confirmed that the number of nurses from outside Europe registering for the first time to work in Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) has surged by 126 percent in a year as the numbers of white EU medical staff continued to decline in the face of Brexit.
The NMC said that between March 2017 and March 2018, 2,724 nationals from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) who registered for the first time. This number went up to 6,157 for the period March 2018 to March 2019.
The figures coincide with an announcement by the NHS that it will soon begin a major campaign to recruit health workers from other countries to meet “growing staff shortages.”
According to a BBC report, the NHS has drawn up a “strategy to target a number of countries around the world, including poorer nations outside Europe.”
One estimate in March this year said the NHS will need 5,000 extra nurses every year, three times the figure it currently recruits annually.
More than 12 percent of the workforce reported their nationality as not British, according to a report published last year, and the biggest group of foreign NHS workers are from the EU—56 in every 1,000.
But the report noted the number of new staff coming from the EU is falling, and that this decline particularly applies to nurses.
In 2015–16, 19 percent of nurses who joined the NHS were from the EU. But by 2017-18, this had fallen to 7.9 percent.
According to official statistics, the biggest number of nurses are being recruited from the Philippines and India, with smaller numbers from EU countries such as Ireland, Spain and Portugal.
Some 10,719 were recruited from the Philippines, 6,656 from India, and 2,450 from Zimbabwe.
There are also currently 12,610 doctors from India in the UK, 4,659 from Pakistan, 2,014 from Egypt, and 1,903 from Nigeria.
* Last year, the UK’s General Medical Council (GMC) earlier confirmed that there has been a persistent “overrepresentation” of complaints against nonwhite doctors in the NHS.
In February this year, the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) confirmed that at least half of pharmacists suspended or removed from the register over a three-year period were nonwhite.
The Pharmaceutical Journal obtained which showed that over three years, up to 199 pharmacists were suspended or removed from the register after a fitness-to-practise (FTP) hearing.
Of those, around 47 percent where “BAME” (Black and Minority Ethnic”), 35 percent were white and 18 percent did not provide their ethnicity.
This compares with 45 percent of pharmacists on the GPhC register identifying as BAME, 45 percent as white and 10 percent with no ethnicity given.
The differences are even starker if those with no ethnicity given are removed from the analysis, with 57 percent of pharmacists removed or suspended who identified as BAME, compared with 43 percent who identified as being of a white ethnicity.