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NMC approves changes to English language requirements for international nurses and midwives

View profile for Elizabeth Groom
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NMC launches new approach to fitness to practise complaints

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) recently proposed changes to the requirements for nurses and midwives from outside the UK taking the International Language Test System (IELTS), as part of the NMC’s international registration process.

 Asa regulator, the NMC must have appropriate and proportionate checks in place to in order to ensure that applicants are able to practise safely and effectively. This includes having the appropriate qualifications and good health and character, as well as a necessary knowledge of English.

The proposal means that an overall level 7 in the IELTS will still be required, however, it would be possible for candidates to achieve a level 6.5 in writing. This score would be accepted as long as a level 7 was achieved in reading, listening and speaking.

The NMC recognised that nurses and midwives from outside of the UK were a vital part of the workforce, and that the healthcare system would not operate as it does without them. The NMC further recognised that good communication was also essential to safer and better care.

The proposal was approved by the NMC on 28th November 2018, following support from key stakeholders, who told the NMC that many nurses and midwives were just missing out on achieving a level 7 when taking the IELTS test, despite being able to communicate to a high level of English.

The change was accepted, on the grounds that it is a ‘moderate and proportionate’ change which is in line with the NMC’s commitment to better and safer care. This change, introducing the new level of 6.5 for writing, came into effect on 5th December 2018.

The NMC has also advised that IELTS results that are under two years old, which meet this new criteria will also be considered.

At Stephensons, we have a team of specialist NMC lawyers who have extensive experience in representing and advising nurses and midwives involved in NMC investigations, fitness to practice proceedings or those seeking registration advice. If you find yourself in a situation where you require registration advice, we have a dedicated team who will be able to assist you. For more information, call our specialist NMC lawyers now on 0175 321 6399.

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