Responding to the NMC's latest annual registration report for nursing and midwifery staff, Danny Mortimer, chief executive of NHS Employers, which is part of the NHS Confederation, said:
“It is heartening to see record numbers of nurses and midwives join the permanent register in the last year, but these numbers are a drop in the ocean compared to what the NHS needs in the longer term, as the Government recognised when it committed to recruit 50,000 more nurses by the next election. It is also encouraging to see a reduction in the numbers leaving the register thanks to the investment in NHS pay and the focus of employers on retention of staff.
“As we have highlighted through our NHS Reset campaign, NHS organisations are keen to respond to the enormous recent interest in careers in the NHS. Expansion in education will take time to realise and therefore will not replace the need for recruitment from overseas; I pay tribute to our international colleagues, who make an essential contribution to caring for our population.
“While the travel restrictions and the risks of coronavirus continue to hang over us, this vital supply of workers will, however, continue to be curtailed.
“The Government has extended free one-year visas to select NHS staff including nurses, who are already working in the system, but details are still lacking around the promised ‘NHS Visa,’ which would be focused on bringing much-needed new talent in.”