Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) language controls consultation - our response

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Nurse and man appointment

21 / 8 / 2015 12.15pm

The consultation on new English language controls that will apply to some nurses and midwives has closed, and NHS Employers response has been submitted.

We fully support the need to check the English language competency of nurses and midwives, and observations relating to the proposed process are noted in our response, which include:

  • support for the NMC's plans to review IELTS in order to evaluate its effectiveness as the main testing route
  • ensuring the new process does not create unnecessarily delays for candidates
  • considering other practical mechanisms for measuring language competence during the readmission process of a nurse or midwife to the register
  • ensuring that any communication from the NMC to employers about their responsibilities for language competency is clear and timely.

UK government ruling

In November 2014 it was announced that the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) would have the authority to implement language controls 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.

This consultation was not about whether or not language controls should be introduced, but the process NMC plans to use for this purpose.

At present, EEA nurses are not compulsorily subject to language checks as part of the NMC registration process. The language controls will also bring potential implications for the current nursing workforce, due to the assessment requirements for individuals seeking readmission to the register, and those under investigation due to language concerns.

Read the response NHS Employers has submitted on behalf of employers. For detailed information about the context and scope of the new NMC language controls, please see the NMC website.

NHS Employers will provide a further update when possible on the NMC consultation outcome and the upcoming implementation of the language controls.

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