Continued uncertainty over Brexit has seen an increase in nurses seeking jobs in Ireland.

The British National Health Service (NHS), which has traditionally been a powerhouse employer for EU nurses has seen an exodus of nurses since the announcement of Brexit, many of whom are now looking for work in Ireland.

Many Irish help to make up the 6.8pc of nurses in the NHS from EU and EEA states, but the most recent data shows a dramatic fall in the number of nurses joining from the EU and an exodus of those already in the NHS.

According to the UK’s Nursing & Midwifery Council, 3,962 EU nurses left the register between 2017 and 2018. In the same period, 805 EU nurses joined the register compared with 6,382 the year before – an 87pc fall in registrations.

Organisers of the Nursing & Midwifery Job Fair in Dublin last Saturday reported a huge increase in attendance, especially from EU nurses and Irish hospitals recruiting at the fair noted a huge interest from UK-based Irish nurses in returning home to work.

The return home of Irish nurses, because of Brexit’s uncertainty, comes while the INMO engage in negotiations with the Labour Court for better pay and working conditions for those already employed by the HSE.

Irish nurses and midwives marched in their 10,000s in February, demanding parity of pay with other professionals within the HSE.

Speaking after the job fair in Dublin, Caoimhe Treacy, a London-based nurse from the capital, said that, despite the issues nurses and midwives currently face in Ireland, the risk that Brexit poses outweighs her hesitance to return home.

“I came back to the Job fair in Dublin as the whole Brexit thing is a big issue and I don’t know what’s going to happen, and whether I will be able to work in the UK post Brexit,” she said.

“I’d rather be at home, despite the issues within the Healthcare system, at least I’d be at home and have a job”.

Caoimhe Treacy with a colleague in her London-based NHS position

In response to the demand for work in Ireland from Irish nurses in the UK, Irish hospital employers are expected to turn up in large numbers at the Nursing & Midwifery Job Fair which will take place in London.

The Dublin Midland Hospital Group, who represent St. James’ Hospital, Naas General Hospital, Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise and Tullamore have already confirmed their attendance, as have Tallaght University Hospital, St. Luke’s Radiation Oncology Network and The Coombe Women & Infants University Hospital.

Other Irish healthcare employers including St. Patrick’s Mental Health Services, Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital Drogheda, Beaumont Hospital, Virtue Integrated Elder Care, TLC Group, Rotunda Hospital and CareChoice will also be recruiting at the event in London.

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