It has been announced that midwives and nurses who completed their training outside Europe have to undergo new eligibility assessments which will allow them to work in the UK.
To offer protection to the public, the new registration system, set for introduction during autumn, will make sure that nurses and midwives who completed their training overseas and wish to work in the UK undergo objective and robust assessments, according to the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).
Almost 5000 individuals who received training outside the European Economic Area have been registered with the NMC during the past five years. Most of the overseas trained nurses and midwives are from Australia, the Philippines or India.
The chief executive and registrar at NMC, Jackie Smith, said this new method is recognised internationally and is a stringent way of ensuring that applicants who trained overseas are able to effectively and safely practise in the UK.
This new systems is not a replacement for employers to ensure that the staff they decide to employ have the required knowledge and skills for the role, and to offer further training and support if it is required.
The new process will include a competency test, including a computer-based multiple choice examination, along with a practical clinical examination.
The executive director of nursing at the Royal College of Nursing, Janet Davies, said UK health care relies on the dedication and hard work of overseas-trained nurses and it is vital that patients are confident about their abilities.
She said that the proposals may be a more consistent and robust method, but the organisation requires more information about the methods to be used before they can pass judgment on whether the new process will be adequate.
She added that an improvement of the registration process forms one part of the requirements, as the staff also has to be monitored and supported whilst in clinical practice.
She stated that regardless of whether the nurses come from the EU or other parts of the world, it is important that they are recruited for the right reasons and they get the required support once they arrive in the UK. She said that often overseas nurses are recruited as temporary workers and they are not provided with the right support to care sufficiently for patients.
Ms Davies said that the NMC and employers should work together to develop a system which will give patients confidence that the person who is caring for them is able to do so to a high standard.
Image Credit: University of Salford Press Office