Overseas nurses are set to face compulsory checks on competence and face-to-face checks on identity, under latest proposals from the UK’s nursing regulator.
The Nursing and Midwifery Council has announced additional steps it is taking to strengthen registration of overseas nurses and midwives from outside of the European Union.
The NMC’s council agreed at its latest meeting on 27 July to consult over the introduction of a mandatory test of clinical competence for overseas applicants.
This test is likely to take a year to introduce following consultation and test design, the regulator said.
The NMC will also introduce face-to-face identity checks for overseas applicants, which is it said was likely to take at least two months to introduce.
The regulator added that the moves formed the latest stage in its review of the registration process to ensure they were as “robust as possible”.
It began the review in January, which prompted it to suspend the processing of applications from overseas nurses. It began accepting applications again in April, after bringing in interim measures while it continued its review.
The interim measures included tougher checks on identity documents, including only accepting first copies and requiring the copy to be signed by a professional to confirm an individual’s identity.
Jackie Smith, NMC chief executive and registrar, said: “The vast majority of overseas nurses and midwives deliver care to a good standard but we have been clear that all our registration processes must be suitable and effective.”
The NMC’s overhaul of the registration process for overseas nurses and due to be followed by a similar review of processes for EU and UK nurses.
The move comes as NHS trusts are increasingly seeking new nursing recruits from overseas, in particular Spain, Portugal and Ireland.
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