Leader comment: Alarm over drop in nurse numbers

As we await the start of Brexit negotiations, not knowing what the consequences will be when this process finally takes effect, we should be concerned about figures which show a 96 per cent drop in the number of nurses from European Union countries registering to practise in the UK since the referendum.

There has been a dramatic drop-off in the number of EU nurses who have registered to work in the UK since the Brexit referendum.
There has been a dramatic drop-off in the number of EU nurses who have registered to work in the UK since the Brexit referendum.

Many areas of employment rely heavily on international recruitment just to be able to operate, and if a vital source of labour is going to dry up, there are very serious consequences for public service and for the economy in the UK.

It is possible the fall is partly caused by the introduction of English language testing for EU nurses, rather then the uncertainty of Brexit itself, although that is little consolation for NHS staff who now face being further under-resourced.

But if this is indeed an early indication of the Brexit effect, the information should be used now to help design a new recruitment strategy.