The number of EU nurses registering in the UK has dropped by 96% since July, according to new figures.
The data obtained by the Health Foundation through a Freedom of Information request to the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) shows EU nurse registrations fell to 46 in April compared with 1,304 in July last year.
Anita Charlesworth, Director of Research and Economics at the Health Foundation, said: “The recruitment and retention of nurses is one of the biggest challenges facing health and social care, with a shortage of 30,000 nurses in England alone.
“The drop in EU nurses registering to work in the UK could not be more stark – just 46 registered to work in the UK in April. 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.
“Clearly action is needed to offset any further loss of EU nursing staff in the near future. But the overall shortage of 30,000 nurses is not a shortage caused by the Brexit vote. The chronic shortage of nurses is the result of years of short-term planning and cuts to training places. A sustainable, long-term approach to workforce planning is desperately needed.”