NMC consulting on its English language test approach and whether it should consider accepting alternative evidence of English language competence.

Matthew McClelland, NMC Executive Director of Strategy and Insight, wrote on the NMC’s website:

“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.

“Everyone joining our register has to demonstrate their English language competence in one of three ways. One way is to train in English, and another is to practise in an English-speaking role as a registered nursing or midwifery professional. The other way is to take an approved English language test. That’s the route most internationally trained professionals use.

“In 2021–2022, more than 23,000 internationally trained professionals joined our register, and the vast majority had taken an English language test. 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.”

 He continued by confirming that the NMC “will be consulting on two areas: firstly our English language test approach and , secondly, whether we should consider accepting alternative evidence of English language competence, such as employer references, evidence of unregulated practice in a healthcare setting in the UK, or postgraduate qualifications that are taught and examined in English…We’ll run the consultation for eight weeks to give everyone plenty of time to have their say, but also to ensure we can develop and implement any new proposals as quickly as possible.”