Record response to consultation on NMC’s English language tests: Complete survey before Aug 12 – UKMALAYALEE

Record response to consultation on NMC’s English language tests: Complete survey before Aug 12

Friday 29 July 2022 6:47 AM UTC

Keralites Dr Agimol Pradeep and Dr Dilla Davis have been calling for change on behalf of thousands of India-trained nurses who they said are unable to register in the UK

LONDON July 29: The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has received a record-breaking number of responses to its consultation on proposed changes to English language requirements for internationally trained applicants, Nursing Times reported.

Just over halfway through the eight-week consultation period, the NMC has seen more than 31,000 responses, it has announced.

The nursing regulator is seeking views on potential changes to its approach to testing nurses from overseas in relation to their English language skills.

It comes after concerns were raised that many nurses from overseas have been unable to pass the NMC’s language test and achieve registration despite living and working as healthcare assistants in the UK for many years.

Dr Dilla Davis, nursing lecturer at the University of Salford, and Dr Agimol Pradeep, liver transplant coordinator at King’s College Hospital, have been calling for change on behalf of thousands of India-trained nurses who they said are unable to register in the UK.

In recent months, the nursing regulator recognised there “may be a case for change” and drafted some proposals which are now out to public consultation.

Currently, individuals who join the register must demonstrate their English language competence through either training in English, by practising in an English-speaking role as a nurse or midwife, or by taking an approved English language test.

Of the more than 23,000 internationally trained nurses and midwives who joined the register, the NMC stated the “vast majority” had taken an English language test.

As part of its online consultation launched last month, the NMC is seeking views on whether it should consider accepting alternative evidence of competence, such as experience as a health or care worker in the UK or the completion of a postgraduate qualification studied in English.

The nursing regulator said it had already received a “record” number of responses compared with any other consultation it has launched in the past 10 years.

There are now just under three weeks to go until the closing date on 12 August 2022. Click To Complete Survey

Matthew McClelland, executive director of strategy and insight at the NMC, said: “It’s brilliant that we’ve had such an incredible response to our consultation so far.

“Over 31,000 responses is already a record for any NMC consultation that we’ve launched within the past decade and shows just how much it means to people that we get our English language requirements right.”

He added: “There’s still time respond to the consultation if you haven’t done so yet.

“We want to hear from everyone, whether they’re people who use health and care services, employers, internationally educated professionals, or people on our register.”

Feedback from the consultation will be used to help the NMC “refine” its proposals which will be taken back to its governing council in September.

See Below NMC Clarification on Reasons for the Consultation

Why are we looking at our English language requirements?

Effective communication is vital for high-quality, person-centred care and fundamental to public trust and confidence in health and care professionals. Clinical practice requires nurses, midwives, and nursing associates to communicate with patients and colleagues clearly, sensitively, and with kindness – very often on complex issues and in pressurised environments. This means it’s essential that everyone joining our register has strong English language skills. We keep all our regulatory standards and requirements under regular review. And so we’re now looking at how we make sure nurses, midwives and nursing associates have good enough English to join our register.

How can people prove they are competent in English at the moment?

In 2021–2022, more than 23,000 internationally trained professionals joined our register, and the vast majority had taken an English language test to do so. The two tests we currently accept are IELTS and OET, both of which are reputable, not-for-profit tests used by many regulators and other organisations around the world. Other ways to show us you have strong language skills are through having trained in English, or practised in an English-speaking country as a registered nursing or midwifery professional.

What we’ve heard so far

Over the past few months, we’ve been gathering views from professionals and our partners about our current English language requirements. We’ve reviewed and adjusted these on many occasions since they were introduced, but we know some people have concerns about whether they’re fair and proportionate for everyone. It’s a priority for us to make sure they are. Our pre-consultation engagement started with a roundtable event in November 2021. This included representatives from international professionals groups, employers, trade unions, test providers, and individuals who have experience of our English language processes. Since then we’ve continued to gather views from professionals, partners and the public, to build evidence to help us decide whether we should change our requirements. We’re grateful to everyone who’s shared their initial views with us about what they’d like to see change and why. Now it’s open to everyone to have their say through our consultation.

Next steps

This consultation will close on 12 August at 23:59. We’ll then need to take some time to properly consider what everyone has told us. The earliest we expect to introduce changes is autumn 2022. We have shortened our usual consultation period from 12 weeks to eight to reflect people’s desire for us to act quickly. Our external research partner, Britain Thinks, is helping us use that time effectively to make sure we hear views from people with diverse backgrounds.

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