HBI Deals+Insights / News

Michaila Byrne
March 17, 2023

This week, HBI looks at the annual inflow of nurses from abroad to the big five Western European markets – the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain – using public data from OECD. Those looking for an outlier need look no further than the UK.

Our graph stops at 2020 as data beyond this point was not available for all countries but the source data can be found here, alongside a breakdown of those total figures by country of origin of the nurses in our chart.

The United Kingdom had by far the largest influx of nurses, with the figure rising steady up until 2016. This dipped dramatically the following year – the year of the Brexit referendum – then recovered back to its original course. The largest group came from India – 4,110 in 2020, and this rose 53% to 6,304 in 2021. Inflow from the Philippines increased over 50% year on year to 4,247 in 2021. To read more about health care in the UK click here.

Nurses travelling in from Africa also display an interesting upwards trend. In 2020 the number of Nigerian nurses entering the UK was 527. By 2021 that number more than tripled to 1,709. In 2020 Zimbabwean nurses stood at 221, and by 2021 there had been a 175% increase to 609.

Germany is the other country from our sample which experienced a steady, significant upwards trajectory. In 2020, the top three countries sending nurses to Germany were the Philippines (1,296), Serbia (1,125), and Bosnia and Herzegovina (1,068). To read more about health care in Germany take a look at our German healthcare report found here.

France’s levels of nurse inflow are relatively low and have remained pretty consistent over the years, with Belgium being the most likely supplier. To read more about health care in France take a look at our French healthcare report found here.

Spain has experienced similarly low levels of nurse inflow which were on a subtle decline up until recently. Spanish speaking countries such as Chile, Peru, Venezuela, and Colombia are highly represented but its European neighbour Portugal, topped the list in 2021. To read more about health care in Spain take a look at our Spanish healthcare report found here.

Italy has a very small inflow of nurses. Romania with 404 nurses in 2021 provides the only notable representation. To read more about health care in Italy take a look at our Italian healthcare report found here.

We would welcome your thoughts on this story. Email your views to Michaila Byrne or call 0207 183 3779.


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