Nurses and midwives who completed their training outside Europe are to face new assessments of their eligibility to work in the UK, it has been announced.
The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) said the new registration system, to be introduced this autumn, will ensure that the hundreds of nurses and midwives who trained overseas and wish to practise in the UK are assessed in a robust and objective way, in order to protect the public.
“The new system will not replace the need for employers to ensure that the staff they recruit display the behaviours, skills and knowledge necessary”
Nearly 5,000 people who trained outside the European Economic Area have registered with the NMC over the last five years. The majority of nurses and midwives who trained overseas come from India, the Philippines or Australia.
Jackie Smith, NMC chief executive and registrar, said: “This approach to overseas registration is an internationally recognised and rigorous way of ensuring that those applying for registration who trained overseas are able to practise safely and effectively in the UK.
“The new process further demonstrates our continued commitment to making sure public protection remains at the heart of the systems and processes we use to maintain the register and reputation of the nursing and midwifery professions,” she said.
“The new system will not replace the need for employers to ensure that the staff they recruit display the behaviours, skills and knowledge necessary for the specific role to which they are recruited, and provide further support and development as required,” she added.
“Too often, nurses are recruited from overseas to fill short term gaps and given inadequate support to care for patients well”
At the heart of the new registration process will be a test of competence, which will consist of two parts − a multiple choice computer-based examination and a practical clinical examination.
But Janet Davies, executive director of nursing at the Royal College of Nursing, said: “We need to know more about how nurses will be evaluated as part of this system before we can judge whether or not the system is adequate.
“Improving the process by which nurses are registered is only part of what is needed, they must be supported and monitored when they are in clinical practice,”she said.
“It’s important to note that no system will remove the need for employers to recruit people with the right skills, provide them with a proper induction and allow them access to continuing training and development,” she said.
Ms Davies added: “Whether nurses come from the EU or the rest of the world, it is vital that employers are recruiting them for the right reasons and supporting them when they get here. Too often, nurses are recruited from overseas to fill short term gaps and given inadequate support to care for patients well.”