Tuesday 26 February 2019 2:45 AM UTC
By Febin Cyriac (Febin started this petition to Nursing and midwifery Council)
LONDON Feb 26: As of the beginning of December 2018, the NMC decided to decrease the IELTS writing score for nurses from band score 7 to band score 6.5. There had been considerable support for this change and quite rightly after over a year of campaigning by me.
This previous IELTS petition garnered widespread support with over 25,000 signatures and it resulted in the NMC eventually relenting and accepting it.
This was fantastic news that was well received by all stakeholders including nurses, recruitment agencies and teachers all over the world. It then resulted in many nurses being eligible to satisfy NMC English language requirements and being able to work in the NHS which then started to ease crippling NHS shortages.
However, a big debate began to emerge as to why there was no change to the other English proficiency test accepted by the NMC, OET (Occupational English Test).
Thousands of nurses contacted me, Swoosh English and OET World to ask why the OET writing exam hadn’t followed suit in the score being decreased from a grade B to a C+.
The reason there was widespread anger was that a C+ is equivalent to the now accepted IELTS 6.5. If we can get 25,000 signatures (with your support), we can reach this number for OET too. I am delighted to have Swoosh English and OET World on board with this petition too!
We sent out an initial survey to get an overall sense of the feeling amongst stakeholders. We had a huge response with 1924 nurses completing the survey in just 5 days.
The overriding feeling was that it was totally unfair that a 6.5 in IELTS writing was now accepted but a C+ in OET writing wasn’t. When asked the question ‘Should OET writing be decreased to C+, more than 99% of respondents said yes, the score should be decreased.
We understand that the NMC stands for public protection but a C+ in OET writing is equivalent to 6.5 in IELTS writing. Decreasing OET writing to C+ will not harm public safety.
Moreover, current staff shortages in the NHS are a major concern for public safety and treatment times. Every NHS trust in the country is spending an average of £10,000 to recruit a nurse from overseas.
This is a relatively huge money to pay but this small change will make a huge difference to staffing issues in the UK.
Nurses are spending considerable amounts of money on exams and are required to achieve scores in writing that are just not required in order to work effectively in their day to day job as a nurse in UK hospitals and care homes.
Although a percentage of nurses have now satisfied the NMC’s requirements with previous IELTS results, there remains a significant amount of nurses who have gone ahead with OET that cannot reach the OET writing grade B requirement.
Unfortunately, due to the significant amounts of money needed for nurses to come to the UK (repeated exam fees, being taken advantage of by rogue, unlicensed/unqualified teachers/recruitment agencies that have scammed them amongst other fees) nurses predominantly from low income, developing countries just don’t have the sufficient finances to pay for good quality OET training.
Hence, they finally decide to self-study with free materials they find online which in the majority of cases don’t help them to pass. This results in them taking the exam many times and failing.
All this results in many nurses that didn’t meet the requirements deciding to quit and stay in their home countries.
These are good quality nurses that the UK healthcare system is missing out on and this needs to be addressed with IMMEDIATE EFFECT and we can only do that with your help and support.
If you believe in the power that we all have and what we can achieve together, please spare just a couple of minutes and sign this petition to show your support!
Nurses have for too long been treated unfairly and enough is enough! Who will support us with this mission to decrease the OET writing score for nurses to a grade C+?
Please can you sign this petition and also SHARE this petition on all of your social media channels so that other nurses and stakeholders can help make the impact that this mission deserves? There is strength in numbers so let’s give nurses around the world a voice!
Let’s achieve this change together!
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