The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) is set to approve changes to its English language requirements for nurses, midwives and nursing associates.

The NMC will propose adoption of two important “two key changes” to its requirements:

  1. standardising the minimum scores it accepts when combining test scores, and extend the period for combining test scores from six to 12 months.
  2. enabling employers to provide supporting evidence of English language proficiency.

The NMC said it plans to accept supporting evidence where an applicant has:

  • trained in English in a country where English is not a majority spoken language; or narrowly missed passing the English language test.

Subject to Council approval, we plan to prepare for implementation of the proposed changes from January 2023. 

Matthew McClelland, Executive Director of Strategy and Insight at the NMC, said:

“I’m extremely grateful to everyone who took the time to respond to our consultation. 34,000 responses is an exceptional number and shows just how important it is to people that we get our English language requirements right. We’ve considered all responses thoroughly, and believe these proposals will ensure that our requirements are fair and reliable for everyone.

“Internationally trained professionals make a vital contribution to safe, effective and kind nursing and midwifery across the UK. It is essential for public safety that nursing and midwifery professionals have effective English language skills and can communicate safely with each other and those they care for.

“While we’ll look to bring in any approved proposals as quickly as possible, we can’t rush this process. It’s important that we bring in any changes in a kind, careful and considered way. We’ll continue to keep professionals, our stakeholders and partners updated moving forward.”

Our proposals follow an eight-week consultation that received more than 34,000 responses – a record for any NMC consultation in the last decade. The NMC consulted on two areas. First, our approach to testing. Second, whether we should consider other evidence of English language competence.  

Insight Works Training