The Nursing and Midwifery Council is seeking views on plans to strengthen the process of checks for overseas applicants to the UK register.
The NMC has proposed introducing a competency test for overseas applicants – defined as those trained outside the European Economic Area – to replace the overseas nursing programme and the adaptation to midwifery programme.
The new test would run alongside a more robust system of face-to-face ID checks and advanced passport scanning technology to verify identity documents.
The competency tests would be undertaken by all overseas applicants to the register once they have proven they meet the NMC registration and education requirements and would be additional to required language competence in English.
A consultation on the new competency test will run until 31 October, with the new model of checks taking at least a year to implement after that.
Details being consulted on include the principles underpinning the test and options for how it would be structured – for example, applicants could sit a theory element in their home countries online in an approved test centre, with the practical element completed in the UK.
NMC Chief Executive and Registrar Jackie Smith said: “We look forward to hearing from a range of organisations and individuals on these proposals.”
The proposed changes follow concern earlier this year that some overseas nurses could be fraudulently registered, which prompted the NMC to temporarily suspend new applications.
Health minister Dr Dan Poulter said: “I support the NMC’s work to strengthen checks on overseas applicants. Overseas nurses and midwives play an important role in UK healthcare but it is right to have the strongest possible checks on their skills, knowledge and aptitude to work in the UK healthcare system.”
Are you able to Speak Out Safely? Sign our petition to put pressure on your trust to support an open and transparent NHS.