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"Industrial-Scale Fraud" at Nigerian Test Centre Investigated by NMC

View profile for Cameron Stubbs
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The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) have reported that they have uncovered extensive fraud occurring at a test centre in Nigeria, which has resulted in hundreds of applicants potentially obtaining fraudulent results.

In light of the NMC’s findings, so far 48 nurses currently on the register will face hearings before an investigating panel, starting in March 2024. However, it has been reported that there are more than 700 healthcare workers involved in what has been described as “industrial-scale fraud”. The NMC have reported that at present, there are 669 applicants to the register who are being considered for fraudulent test results. Andrea Sutcliffe, NMC Chief Executive, provided the following comment:

“There are 669 applicants to the register about whom we have the same fraud concerns. We’re reviewing each application carefully in line with our guidance on health and character. We’ve refused entry to the register for the vast majority of the 80 applications we’ve considered so far, and those individuals can appeal.”

The alleged fraudulent tests were completed at Nigerian test centre, Yunnik Technologies and involved applicants using proxies to sit and pass tests for them, enabling them to work in the UK. The issue was uncovered by Pearson VUE, who operate a computer-based test of competence programme for the NMC. They alerted the NMC to what they considered to be anomalous data recorded at the Nigerian test centre. It is expected that all 1,955 candidates who took the test at the Nigerian test centre, will have to retake their test before being allowed to join the UK register.

Peter Carter, the Ex-Chief Executive of the RCN and Ex-Chair of three NHS trusts stated:

“It’s very, very worrying if … there’s an organisation that’s involving themselves in fraudulent activity, enabling nurses to bypass these tests, or if they are using surrogates to do exams for them because the implication is that we end up in the UK with nurses who aren’t competent.”

Sutcliffe went on to add:

“This is the first time we’ve found evidence of widespread fraud at a test centre.”

Internationally educated nurses and midwives make an important contribution to our health and social care system. However, our paramount concern is to protect the public by maintaining the integrity of the register.

In light of these findings, it is expected that the number of fitness to practise investigations being undertaken by the NMC into this suspected fraud will increase. Those who are found to have obtained their test results through fraudulent means may face serious sanctions, including a real risk of being struck off the register.

Our specialist NMC lawyers have extensive experience of defending nurses in fitness to practise cases before the NMC, including in relation to fraudulent entry and other registration issues, allegations of poor professional competence, health issues, allegations of serious misconduct and serious criminal convictions. For immediate advice from one of our specialist NMC lawyers please call us now on 0161 696 6250 or contact us via our online enquiry form.