New language ability checks for EU-trained healthcare workers


16 / 2 / 2015 12.23pm

New proposals aim to permit relevant regulators to seek evidence of English language competency from healthcare workers who are trained in the EU and are applying to register with them in order to look for work in the UK.  

The changes, which are likely to come into force later this year, will apply to all EU-trained nurses, midwives, dentists, dental care professionals, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians that are registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), General Dental Council (GDC), General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) and the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland (PSNI).

Where appropriate evidence cannot be sought, or there are any concerns about the individual's language competency, the regulator can require them to take an internationally recognised language test.

An amendment order is due to be laid before Parliament in March 2015 and, once parliamentary approval is given, it is anticipated that a further public consultation will need to take place before the changes are implemented by the relevant regulatory bodies.  

We will provide a further update about the public consultation and the timeframe for implementation on this website and also through the NHS Workforce Bulletin once more information is known.

The proposed changes follow the Department of Health's consultation on language controls for healthcare and associated professions which ran during November/December 2014.  A copy of the Government's response to this consultation can be found on the Department of Health website.

Further information can be found on our guidance on language competency requirements web pages.

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