Lan­guage test for for­eign nurses eased

The Daily Telegraph - - News - By Laura Don­nelly HEALTH ED­I­TOR

RULES on lan­guage test­ing for for­eign nurses are to be re­laxed, amid fears of an ex­o­dus of over­seas work­ers in the wake of the Brexit vote.

The Nurs­ing and Mid­wifery Coun­cil (NMC) is to change its rules so that nurses wish­ing to work in Bri­tain will be able to take their tests in two sit­tings if they miss the re­quired stan­dards in their first exam.

Pa­tients’ groups ex­pressed fears that pa­tients would be put at in­creased risk, from nurses with an in­ad­e­quate grasp of English.

The an­nounce­ment came amid con­cern from the Health Sec­re­tary and health of­fi­cials that de­par­ture from the EU could starve the country of much-needed work­ers.

In just two years, the num­ber of nurses reg­is­ter­ing to work here from EU coun­tries has dou­bled, of­fi­cial fig­ures show.

Health ser­vice lead­ers fear that last week’s vote will mean in­creas­ing num­bers of work­ers re­turn home, amid un­cer­tainty about fu­ture re­stric­tions.

Jeremy Hunt, the Health Sec­re­tary, who was part of the Re­main camp, told Health

Ser­vice Jour­nal: “Ten per cent of our doc­tors, and more than 20,000 NHS nurses, are from an­other EU country, and we sim­ply could not do with­out their con­tri­bu­tion.”

But Kather­ine Mur­phy, chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Pa­tients As­so­ci­a­tion, said: “If the NHS does em­ploy nurses from other coun­tries, it must en­sure that they are fully qual­i­fied and com­pe­tent to carry out their du­ties and that they are com­pe­tent enough in English to ef­fec­tively com­mu­ni­cate with pa­tients.”

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