Consultation on language competence process for nurses and midwives 

Nurse and scanner

12 / 6 / 2015 8.22am

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) is consulting with stakeholders on its proposed registration process for:

  • Economic European Area (EEA) trained nurses and midwives
  • nurses and midwives seeking readmission to the NMC register if their registration has lapsed
  • incidents where there are concerns about the language competence of nurses and midwives on the NMC register.

Key proposed changes

The NMC proposes that the primary method of evidencing English language competence for EEA nurses will involve the candidate proving they have at least one of the following:

  • an international English language testing system (IELTS) score of seven (overall and in the individual four areas: reading, writing, listening and speaking)
  • completion of a pre-registration nursing or midwifery programme that has been taught and examined in English
  • registration and two years of registered practice with a nursing or midwifery regulator in a country where English is the first language and a language assessment was required for registration.

The NMC proposes that any individual nurse (whether from the UK, EEA or overseas) will undergo checks for English language competence if they are seeking readmission to the register after a lapse in registration, or if they are subject to a fitness to practice referral in relation to language competency.

The proposed new NMC language controls will introduce an extra component check to the registration process for EEA nurses, (with additional IELTS testing when required) in addition to the validation of qualifications and identification checking currently required.

Have your say

We will respond to the consultation on behalf of employers and are keen to hear your views on the following questions.

  • Primary methods of demonstrating English language competence in the new process will be an IELTS score of seven, or previous completion of a re-registration or professional registration programme in English.  Do you have any comments or observations about these suggested forms of evidence?
  • The new process will require nurses who have already achieved NMC registration to provide evidence of language competency if their registration lapses or they are subject to a fitness to practice referral in relation to concerns about their language. Do you have any comments or observations?
  • From an employer-perspective, do you have any comments or observations about the implications of this new language control process in relation to the practicalities and time frames when recruiting nurses from the EEA?
  • Do you have any other general comments or observations about the design or potential impact of the new NMC language checking process?
Please send your answers to by 7 August 2015.

You can download the Consultation on the English language requirements and process for registration with the NMC from the NMC website.

Further information

Further information on the consultation can be found on the NMC website. We also encourage you to respond to the NMC directly using the relevant response form. The deadline for direct responses is Friday 21 August 2015 at midday.

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