NMC introduces new language requirements for EU nurses and midwives

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13 / 1 / 2016 10.53am

From 18 January 2016, new language requirements for Economic European Area (EEA) trained nurses and midwives joining the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) register come into effect.

Designed to strengthen public protection, the new controls mean that nurses and midwives will be asked to demonstrate that they have the necessary knowledge of English to practise safely in the UK.

Key changes to the requirements

  • The regulatory body has announced that from January, EEA nurses and midwives will be asked to prove that they have sufficient evidence of English language skills, for example having worked or trained in an English-speaking country. If a nurse or a midwife is unable to demonstrate these requirements, he or she will be asked to complete an English language assessment.
  • Nurses and midwives who have already completed one of the NMC's pre-registration courses will automatically meet the new requirements.
  • New legislation will also give the NMC powers to investigate a nurse or midwife whose fitness to practice has been called into question over their ability to communicate effectively in English.

Background to legislative changes

Directive 2005/36/EC – the recognition of professional qualifications has now been amended by Directive 2013/55/EU. The revised Directive makes changes to language controls which means that language competency can be checked by regulators for European health professionals seeking professional registration in the UK. 

Further information

For more help and information download and read our language competency good practice guidance. More general information can be found on the NMC website.

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