UK records stark drop in EU nurse applicants since Brexit vote

Since the U.K. voted to withdraw from the European Union, 96 percent fewer EU-trained nurses have registered to work in the country, according to a report from BBC.

The numbers indicate a stark difference in applicants from other EU countries: 1,304 EU-trained nurses joined the U.K.'s Nursing and Midwifery Council Register in July 2016, compared to just 46 in April 2017, according to the report.

The EU supplies a small, but significant portion of the National Health Service's nurse workforce, which is already experiencing a shortage of 40,000 nurses, according to the report, citing data from the Royal College of Nurses. Of the 650,000 nurses currently on register in the U.K., 5.5 percent or about 36,000 are EU-trained. An additional 67,000 nurses were trained outside of the EU, according to the report.

The U.K.'s Nursing and Midwifery Council told BBC it added English language testing for EU nurses in January 2016, which could also play a role in the drop in EU applicants.

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