ABSTRACT

This chapter explains the labour market for nurses in the UK. It provides an overview of the dimensions and dynamics of the labour market and analyses the scene for the more detailed examination in the late 1990s of labour market behaviour. In March 1996 there were 645,011 qualified nurses, midwives and health visitors registered with the UK Central Council for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting. This is the 'pool' from which the National Health Service, and other employers, must recruit qualified staff. Data on ethnicity collected by the 1995 Non-Medical Workforce Census were released in May 1997; These data revealed that the majority of registered nurses are white. One major shift in the profile of the profession is in its age distribution. The nurse 'returners' were one of the main subjects of scrutiny in the recently published survey conducted by the Office of Population Censuses and Surveys.