The Government is consulting on ‘streamlining’ the NMC registration process for overseas nurses and midwives, which may mean some applicants may not need to take a test of competency.
The proposed system would give ‘greater flexibility’ to the NMC to determine whether an international nurse or midwife meets its standards. This may mean an overseas applicant would not have to sit a test of competence if they hold an international qualification approved by the NMC.
In ‘limited situations’, the NMC would also be able to judge whether an applicant’s qualification gained outside the UK is comparable to an approved UK qualification. This could include exploring mutual recognition of qualifications as part of a government-to-government trade deal.
All applicants would still be required to meet the NMC’s other registration requirements including those relating to English language, indemnity and paying a fee.
The changes are proposed in a consultation run by the Department of Health and Social Care on behalf of the UK Government and devolved administrations, which closes in May.
‘Minor changes to overseas NMC registration’
Matthew McClelland, executive director of strategy and insight at the NMC, said the consultation proposes ‘minor amendments’ to legislation around the international registration process.
He continued: ‘For example, it would adjust the documentation requirements for international applicants to our register, and set out more clearly how we can assess applications. This doesn’t signify any wider change to our processes.
‘Our test of competence continues to be our primary approach to registering internationally trained professionals, who make a vital contribution to UK health and care services.’
It comes after health and social care secretary Sajid Javid has pledged to recruit 10,000 international nurses in England by April 2022 to help tackle the backlog. This forms part of as part of the existing commitment of 50,000 more nurses by 2025.