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NMC 'unaware of scale' of fraudulent healthcare worker problem

The NMC has admitted it does not know how many migrant workers have secured frontline health service jobs after lying about their identity, experience or qualifications.

With an internal investigation into its own failings now underway at the NMC, a recruitment freeze is in place leaving around 160 nurses unable to fill vacancies in understaffed NHS units.

The regulator’s admission that it is in the dark about the scale of the problem comes just a week after it was heavily criticised by MPs.

Significant concerns have been aired about patient safety and whether the watchdog in its current form is fit for purpose.

Fears over potentially fraudulent applications emerged during an internal review at the NMC that was launched last month.

The NMC says it has not yet discovered any documents that are confirmed to be fraudulent but, likewise, it is also unable to confirm that no false applications have been made.

As a spokeswoman said, the documents in question in some cases do not constitute proof of fraud but the information also “does not give us the level of confidence we would want”.

NMC officials expressed concerns during the internal review about whether certain documents could be verified as genuine and, in some instances, whether the translations into English were reliable.

The RCN chief executive Dr Peter Carter has called for an explanation, pointing out that the NMC’s main role is to protect the public and “it would seem that it is having problems doing this”.

He added: “We are naturally concerned that the NMC has felt a need to stop registering foreign nurses. They are an important addition to the NHS, but public protection is the most important issue.”

Readers' comments (10)

  • it's not just overseas nurses though is it. What is the reason the NMC produce a membership card which says it is not proof of registration.

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  • we all know what the role of the NMC is supposed to be. they have published this in all sorts of different media often enough. However, the question is what do they really do?
    why haven't any of these problems come to light until now and even then without answers? what are they doing about them? how do they protect the public? what measures do they take if any to encourage well qualified nurses to remain on their register and in practice in the UK where they are most needed? where does the money paid out in subs. by nurses actually go?

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  • NMC in "don't know" shocker........

    Move along people, nothing to see here.

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  • And they've just put the fees up to £100 a year, the NMC has got to go!

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  • The NMC is not fit for purpose and if no fraudulent cases have been found then what is the justification for suspending overseas applications. IF this is to protect the jobs of UK nurses (and IF its legal to do so), then why not just say so. Otherwise it appears the NMC are discriminating against overseas nurses, which is wrong (I am a UK nurse by the way).

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  • I live and work in Australia and when I came overseas I was asked to provide notarised copies of all my nursing credentials from the UK, plus a transcript of training from the nursing school where I trained. If the NMC are not following similar lines then they deserve the criticism they are getting. It is no good putting such evidence gathering in the 'too hard' basket!! It is patient's lived we are dealing with here.

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  • Anon 7.38
    How can it be illegal for our Government to not give jobs to foreign nurses?

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  • Overseas nurses are badly needed in their own countries. It is selfish to take them here when uk nurses cannot get jobs.
    Are CRB checks for overseas nurses as stringent as checks for uk nurses? I suspect not. Inequality??

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  • Why aren't NMC following America and Australia? Inorder to be registered in these countries, one needs to provide all the papers from your training that you have undertaken.
    A photogaraph on the NMC registration can also prevent fraudulent applicant.

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  • Whilst I am total non shock by the fact the NMC don't know what they are doing the thing that struck me most was this:

    The RCN chief executive Dr Peter Carter has called for an explanation, pointing out that the NMC’s main role is to protect the public and “it would seem that it is having problems doing this”.

    He added: “We are naturally concerned that the NMC has felt a need to stop registering foreign nurses. They are an important addition to the NHS, but public protection is the most important issue.

    I am sure that there is something written somewhere about splinters and planks in peoples eyes. Isn't the RCN's responsibility to look after it's members?

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