The NHS has spent millions hiring nurses from overseas in order to provide safe staffing levels. New immigration rules due to come into effect in April next year resulting in lower-earning (less than £35,000 after six years in the UK) non-EU workers being deported will further exacerbate the shortage of nurses in the UK.

Research released by the RCN to coincide with its annual congress in Bournemouth, suggests that up to 3,365 nurses, who cost £20.19m to recruit, could be affected. But it says that figure could spiral by 2020, particularly, if workforce pressures lead to increased international recruitment, in which case 29,755 nurses, costing more than £178.5m to recruit could be affected.

The London nursing labour market is under constant threat from high living costs, making it difficult to recruit and retain nurses. So this poses the question of how this will impact the UK capital. According to a study by a leading health researcher, one in three nurses in Central London were trained abroad, the number of foreign nurses in the capital is ten times higher than elsewhere in England - yet 13% of posts remain unfilled.

With further risk of losing experienced staff, it is without doubt that every hospital in London and across the UK should not only be looking at ways to retain existing nurses but also thinking about ways to attract new talent.

Read more articles on this subject:

(Images taken from