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NMC ends freeze on overseas nurse applications


The Nursing and Midwifery Council has begun accepting applications from overseas nurses again – but has warned applicants they could face delays in registration.

Applications from overseas nurses were suspended at the end of January while the NMC carried out a review of its processes surrounding overseas applications.

The regulator is continuing its review but has started accepting applications again after making some interim changes to tighten up its procedures. These include more stringent 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.

An NMC spokeswoman confirmed no overseas nurses had yet been found to be fraudulently registered, adding that checks were ongoing.

However, the review found requirements were not always being enforced around the need for nurses from Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the US to complete additional training hours to make their education comparable with the UK. In future this will be monitored more closely.

Almost 1,000 overseas nurses had their applications put on hold while the review was carried out. The spokeswoman said the NMC would contact these individuals if they required more information.

She said: “Our immediate priority is to process these applications. New applications are welcome, and we have brought in additional staff, but new applicants may experience some delays.”

The NMC plans to produce proposals for an overhaul of the registration process for overseas nurses and introduce them in the next 12 months. It will then conduct a similar review of processes for EU and UK nurses.

Sign our Speak Out Safely petition to support a transparent and open NHS. We are calling on the government to implement recommendations from the Francis report that will increase protection for staff who raise concerns about patient care.


Readers' comments (3)

  • I have enjoyed the privilege of practising as a Registered Nurse in many parts of the world.

    At a clinical level the heath care systems in both Australia and New Zealand have many commonalities with the UK's NHS. Nurses coming to the UK from these countries experience very little difficulty in integrating with the NHS.

    The NMC would be well advised to concentrate their efforts on individuals originating from countries known to have high levels of corruption. In these, often third world places, the forging (or purchase) of academic and professional qualifications is commonplace. One should also be aware of the "cultural" differences" which exist, for example in many health care systems patients relatives are expected to undertake all the personal care needs of their sick relative.

    Fluency in the use of English, speaking, reading and writing is of paramount importance and I am unconvinced that the current testing systems are adequate if the aim is to protect patients.

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  • compared to similar systems in other EU countries it seems very poor, inefficient, complex and disorganised.

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  • I wouldn't recommend any nurse from abroad goes to work in Britain. the working conditions and quality of life are very poor and they won't be made to feel welcome or offered any help assistance or support with integration or any professional or personal problems they may encounter.

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