The Nursing and Midwifery Council is reporting record number of nurses but remain concerned about aging workforce.

According to reports, the 6-month period from 1st April to 30th September 2019 saw growth across the three categories of registrants:

  • the number of nurses on the register has grown by 6,669 (1.02%);
  • the number of midwives has grown by 339 (0.92%); and
  • the number of nursing associates has grown by 999 (204%)

bringing the total number of registrants to an all-time high of 706,252.

However, the figures also reveal that the number of “ageing” nurses on the register grew with those in the 61-65 age bracket growing by 2,220 (5.57%) compared to just 1,659 (1.48%) in the 21-30 age group.

Finally, the total number of EU nurses dropped by 1,062 (-3.21%) and the number of specialist nurses – including ental health, learning disability and children’s nurses – has not changed significantly over the last six months whilst demand in these areas continues to grow.

Andrea Sutcliffe CBE, Chief Executive and Registrar at the NMC, said: “We know the incredible impact that nurses, midwives and nursing associates have in providing highly skilled and person-centred care for millions of people living across all four countries of the UK. I’m pleased to see such an increase of people on our register.

“It’s important we recognise the enormous contribution that nursing and midwifery professionals from overseas continue to make for people in the UK. It’s clear they are a vital part of our UK health and care workforce, and I’m glad to see the recent changes we’ve made to streamline our processes for those joining the register from outside the UK are making a real difference.

“But the reality is, even with this considerable mid-year growth, there are still serious shortages across the health and care sector – not least in specialist areas such as mental health and learning disabilities.

“With so many on our register nearing retirement age, it’s more important than ever that partners across the system work together to tackle the important issue of recruitment and retention of the essential nursing and midwifery workforce.”

Stephen McCaffrey

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