The United Kingdom Central Council for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting (UKCC) recently undertook a major project aimed at identifying the most appropriate future nurse staffing patterns. The results presented here were produced at the request of the UKCC in order that the recommendations stemming from their deliberations could be set against a wider backcloth. It proved possible to secure nurse staffing data from three of the countries of the United Kingdom, namely, England, Wales and Scotland. Most were secured from government publications but the appropriate government agencies also provided valuable assistance. The main trends emerging from a processing of the data are a steadily falling ratio of student nurses and midwives to their qualified counterparts and a steadily increasing contribution by state enrolled nurses. A number of other ratios are presented pictorially accompanied, where appropriate, by a commentary. The actual growth in whole time equivalent nurses is seen to be somewhat less than many people imagine when account is taken of the reduction in both the number of weeks and the number of hours per week worked. Indeed, there has been a levelling off of this last figure over the past few years.