More nurses are quitting the National Health Service (NHS) to move abroad, attracted by better pay and conditions. A report due this month shows the number of nurses emigrating to work has nearly doubled in the past four years. The nurses are reported to be moving as far afield as the US, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
Shadow health secretary Liam Fox said as well as finding it difficult to keep nurses in the country, the NHS was stealing them from other, poorer countries.
Last year, 5,500 nurses left the NHS to work abroad. The figure was 3,400 in 1997.
The Department of Health defended the NHS, claiming the number of nurses had increased and the vacancy rate had fallen.