NHS to fast-track UK nurses to combat record departures of EU staff

NHS England is to launch a new nursing training programme to help plug the gap created by the record number of Europeans leaving the health service since the Brexit vote.Simon Stevens, the chief executive of NHS England, acknowledged that the service relies on international staff, including the more than 12,000 nurses who are EU nationals out of the 315,000 nurses on the NHS’s payroll.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme before the launch of a five-year plan for the NHS, he announced a training programme to “grow the workforce from within this country”.The moves comes after figures showed a record 17,197 EU nationals, including doctors and nurses, left the NHS last year.

Asked if he was worried about the impact of leaving the EU, Stevens said: “The NHS has always relied on international staff as well as staff from this country. It is about 4% of our nurses who come from the rest of the European Union. We are grateful for the work that they do.”But he suggested newly trained British nurses could help fill the gap left by EU nationals once Britain leaves the bloc.

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