Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Overseas nurse numbers rise by 40%


The number of nurses coming to work in the UK from overseas rose by 40% last year, new figures show.

According to the Sunday Mirror, there were 3,197 nurses from the EU registered in the NHS between November 2010 and November 2011. This was compared with 2,256 during the previous 12 months.

NHS leaders say they are increasingly looking to recruit more nurses from Europe due to senior staff members retiring and the falling number of trainee nurses in the UK.

Of the 660,000 nurses working in the NHS, around 87,000 are from overseas. The majority of these hail from the Philippines, Australia, India and South Africa.

The trend has seen many hospitals running language classes to help their staff understand commonly used English phrases.

Royal College of Nursing general secretary Peter Carter told the Sunday Mirror: “We fully support nurses’ rights to work in other countries around the world. But patient safety must remain the top priority and staff must have the skills for the job.

“Britain should plan ahead and train enough staff to meet our needs.”

The newspaper did not reveal the source of its figures.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council, which looks after registrations of UK nurses, told Nursing Times that it had not supplied the paper with the figures. The RCN also said it was not the source.


Readers' comments (13)

  • Sorry
    I am totally confused. Nurses currently working in the NHS are being downgraded, losing thier jobs, or being employed in highly responsible jobs for a pittance and we are employing nurses from overseas.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • We should be like Australia. Job vacancies go to residents before outsiders!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Anonymous | 9-Jan-2012 12:32 pm

    there seems little point in trying to understand. we will all need early retirement for mental confusion and early onset of dementia at this rate!

    Even the article does not appear very coherent!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Newly qualified nurses are out there jobless and we are employing from overseas, what a contradiction.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • British trained and NMC registered nurses returning from overseas have difficulty getting jobs in the UK as they lack NHS experience and even if they do find a job the vetting process takes far too long!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Little One

    So, without meaning to sound bitter, when I qualify in September, not only are we now not given job priority within the area that we trained in, over outside area students, there won't be a job anyway because places are being filled by overseas nurses? This is becoming ridiculous. 8 months to go before qualifying and I already feel depressed.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • "NHS leaders say they are increasingly looking to recruit more nurses from Europe due to senior staff members retiring and the falling number of trainee nurses in the UK."
    As a nurse with 15yrs currrent NHS experience I'm about to end up jobless like several hundred others in my organisation. They'd planned 'no compulsory redundancies' but then announced they were 'surprised' that natural turnover hadn't been 'as high as expected' (what a surprise that people holding on to the job they've got if possibly can in a recession). Newly qualified Scottish nurses' job guarantee has been watered down to part-time bank posts due to lack of posts for them. How does this fit with the NHS leaders' statement?
    And while the NHS spends money on English courses, the government will be having to pay benefits out to me????
    Like the other posters, the logic fails me.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • It is outrageous that nurses are losing their jobs and student nurses( whose educational programme has been paid for by our taxes) should not be able to get a job. In addition poor language skills amongst nursing and other health care staff has recently been subject to debate in the House of Lords. I urge every reader to discuss this issue with work colleagues and in their union branch. Britain should plan to meet its own nursing needs. I wish your article told us which "NHS leaders" had said they are looking to recruit nurses from overseas. I think they should be asked to sit in a room full of UK Nurses and speak to us face to face.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • don't forget this is only an article from the DM. How accurate is their report?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • This is just ridiculous and so unfair. I qualified as a mental health nurse in September 2011 and am unable to find employment within the NHS - many new nurses who qualified with me are now signing on the dole, and yet every ward I did placements on were short staffed. The university where I qualified is still taking on students, including overseas students, knowing fine well there is no employment at the end of it!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Show 1020results per page

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.