Last winter, A&E services struggled due to high demand and staff shortages. If nursing numbers decline further, how will the NHS cope?

Recent observations in this blog have referred to concerns that recruitment of nurses in the UK may become a problem if pay restrictions continue to impact on the living standards of these skilled and vital public servants.

Recently-released recruitment figures suggest that other factors may add to this looming crisis.

The Times has revealed this week that only 46 nurses from the European Union registered to work in the NHS in April of this year in comparison with over 1000 in July of last year. This represents a dramatic drop in recruitment levels which, if it continues, could put even more pressure on existing staff.

This dramatic change in recruitment levels from the EU may be the result of uncertainty over rights of workers from the EU in the United Kingdom after Brexit but also possibly due to more stringent language requirements introduced in 2016.

The number of home-grown student nurses has also fallen in recent years as places for training have been restricted according to The Times.

If these trends continue, the pressure on existing staff will increase and patient care is likely suffer.

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