latest health care news

29.06.16

NMC to amend English skills test for overseas nurses

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) is to amend the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) requirements for nurses and midwives coming on to the register from overseas and within the European Economic Area.

Under the previous system, applicants had to achieve the IELTS Academic Test Level 7 in reading, writing, speaking and listening in a single sitting. A Level 7 in all areas will still be required, but this can now be achieved over two sittings of the tests. Both tests must be within six months of each other and no single score must be below 6.5 in any of the areas across both tests.

The NMC’s CEO and registrar, Jackie Smith, said: “IELTS Level 7 provides us and the public with assurance that nurses and midwives applying to join the register from outside the UK meet the appropriate standard of English language required to work in the UK.”

Only yesterday, the chief nursing officer for England, Professor Jane Cummings, put out a message reassuring European Union staff in the NHS that their contributions are valued following last week’s vote for the UK to leave the EU.

In response to the announcement, Katherine Murphy, CEO of the Patients Association, said that if the NHS does employ nurses from other countries, it must ensure that they are fully qualified and competent to carry out their duties and that they are competent enough in English to effectively communicate with patients

“We hear from patients on our Helpline that there are real issues with nurses from other countries, including problems with communication and a lack of understanding of processes and procedures,” noted Murphy.

“We are concerned that poor English skills may lead to mistakes and misunderstandings between healthcare colleagues or when patients are trying to explain their problems.”

However, she added that it is essential the government increases the commissioned number of student nurses in order to ensure that hospitals are adequately staffed with competent nurses who can provide high-quality care.

“The NHS must invest resources in the training-up and recruiting of nurses from within the UK, rather than embarking upon the costly recruitment of foreign nurses, who are often just a short-term measure to fill a gap,” said Murphy.

In the last few weeks, leaders of key health unions, royal colleges and charities have signed an open letter urging the prime minister to halt plans to cancel bursaries for student nurses, midwives and other healthcare professionals.

The letter to David Cameron says that the proposals are being introduced without any risk assessment and, unlike student loans in other parts of higher education, are being introduced without transition arrangements.

The Royal College of Nurses (RCN) has also announced that it will be campaigning against the closure of the nursing, midwifery and allied health professions policy unit at the Department of Health following an emergency vote at its annual congress.

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become an NHE columnist? If so, click here.

Comments

Catherine   19/11/2016 at 02:49

if i get a 6.5 for reading in both sittings do i qualify for nmc registration

Michelle   05/01/2017 at 20:59

Hi...I just need some clarification regarding my ielts results...I got 6.5L,7R,7W,6.5S...overall 7 in my first take...after retaking the exam,I got 7.5L,7R,6W,7.5S....do I qualify?

Add your comment

 

national health executive tv

more videos >

featured articles

View all News

last word

Haseeb Ahmad: ‘We all have a role to play in getting innovations quicker’

Haseeb Ahmad: ‘We all have a role to play in getting innovations quicker’

Haseeb Ahmad, president of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), sits down with National Health Executive as part of our Last Word Q&A series. Would you talk us throu more > more last word articles >

health service focus

View all News

comment

NHS England dementia director prescribes rugby for mental health and dementia patients

23/09/2019NHS England dementia director prescribes rugby for mental health and dementia patients

Reason to celebrate as NHS says watching rugby can be good for your mental ... more >
Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Bei... more >

interviews

Matt Hancock says GP recruitment is on the rise to support ‘bedrock of the NHS’

24/10/2019Matt Hancock says GP recruitment is on the rise to support ‘bedrock of the NHS’

Today, speaking at the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) annual... more >

the scalpel's daily blog

Pre-diabetes: a hidden healthcare problem

26/05/2020Pre-diabetes: a hidden healthcare problem

Dr Russell Muirhead, Clinical Director of Living Well, Taking Control A third of adults in England have pre-diabetes, according to research published in The BMJ. The study ... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >

editor's comment

25/09/2017A hotbed of innovation

This edition of NHE comes hot on the heels of this year’s NHS Expo which, once again, proved to be a huge success at Manchester Central. A number of announcements were made during the event, with the health secretary naming the second wave of NHS digital pioneers, or ‘fast followers’, which follow the initial global digital exemplars who were revealed at the same show 12 months earlier.  Jeremy Hunt also stated that by the end of 2018 – the 70th birthday... read more >