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Nurse recruitment drive for pandemic

The government is contacting thousands of nurses and midwives with lapsed registrations to help tackle a potential wave in the swine flu pandemic, it has been announced.

About 10,000 people across Scotland alone, who were registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), will receive letters.

A nurse or midwife must have put in at least 750 hours or worked over the past five years to be considered for re-admission.

Letters are going out to 90,000 people across the UK. In Scotland this includes 7,695 nurses, 148 midwives and 1,686 people with both qualifications.

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said: "I am pleased the NMC is taking this action in preparation for any worsening of the pandemic.

"The Scottish Government revised and reissued central guidance for NHS Scotland boards on the workforce implications of pandemic flu in August this year.

"It provides NHS boards with guidance on a range of related issues such as the potential deployment of staff from other sources, including retired and former staff.

"NHS boards have been working in line with that guidance and good progress is being made in developing plans."

NMC chief executive and registrar Kathy George said they are "writing to over 90,000 nurses and midwives whose registration has lapsed within the last four years and encouraging them to consider applying for re-admission to the register".

Copyright © Press Association 2009

Nursing and Midwifery Council

Your comments (terms and conditions apply):

"The NMC had created an unprecedented bottleneck preventing thousands of skilled nurses trained abroad from joining the register and practising their profession all in the name of maintaining standards of practice. Nurses trained abroad are expected to score 7 out of 9 bounds in all the four sections of IELTS exam. Many of them who had overall score of between
7-8 out of 9 bounds (which is a very high score by all standards) cannot be registered because of scoring 6.5 out of 9 bounds in one of the four sections of the exam. In addition they are required to pay between £3,000-4,000 for training before they can complete their registration process. UK trained nurses find it relatively easy to migrate to other countries and practise their profession while nurses trained abroad who
wish to live and practise in the UK cannot do so hence there will always be a shortfall of nurses in the UK. A large proportion of nurses trained in the country will still emigrate to other countries to work and live since movement of human beings is inevitable. I am of the opinion that the standard and quality of nursing practice in the UK can still be
maintained while qualified and skilled nurses trained abroad who wish to live and practice in the UK are supported to do so" - Olukemi Olukoya, Birmingham