INMO warns of UK Brexit nurse recruitment drive


7 in 10 students have been offered overseas posts.

The UK is likely to step up its recruitment of Ireland’s nurse and midwives following Brexit, the INMO has warned in its pre-Budget submission  (Thursday 05/06/19).

UK hospitals currently recruit nurses and midwives from across the EU, but this is likely to become more difficult as migration controls are put in place following Brexit.

The Common Travel Area for Ireland and the UK means that Irish nurses and midwives will be “prime targets” for UK health recruiters.

New figures from an INMO student survey show that, as of June 2019, over 68% of nursing and midwifery students have been approached by overseas recruiters. 

When asked for the main factors that might keep them working in Ireland, 47% pointed to staffing levels and working conditions.

The INMO’s pre-Budget submission calls for funding to reach safe staffing levels throughout the health service, more undergraduate places for nurses and midwives, and resources to fully implement the safe staffing framework, as agreed following the INMO strike earlier this year.

INMO General Secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha, said:

“Ireland’s nurses and midwives are prime targets for UK health service recruiters. After Brexit, it’s likely that British hospitals will step up their efforts to draw more nursing and midwifery staff away.

“Even before Brexit, the vast majority of our graduating nurses and midwives have received offers to work overseas – often in better conditions.

“We need to make the Irish health service an attractive place to work – that means getting staffing levels right. 

“The upcoming Budget is a chance to kickstart that process, by investing in safe staffing, more student places, and implementing Sláintecare. The alternative is understaffed, overstretched services, where patients suffer and staff burn out.”


Notes to Editors:

Survey: The INMO student survey is an annual project, where graduating nurses and midwives are asked about their views and prospects. It received 447 responses (38% of total membership), running for the final two weeks of May 2019.

It found:

Pre-Budget submission:

The INMO’s pre-Budget submission is available here.

It calls for, among other things:



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