Nursing and Midwifery Council of United Kingdom approved a change in International English Language Test System (IELTS) requirements for overseas nurses and midwives which will take effect starting December 5.
In a Council meeting held Wednesday, NMC said that a level 6.5 in writing category of IELTS will be accepted alongside a level 7 in reading, listening, and speaking.
Following the change, nurses and midwives will still be required to achieve a minimum overall band score of 7 in the test.
The decision follows widespread engagement with key stakeholders, who told the NMC that, despite being able to communicate to a high level in English, many nurses and midwives taking the IELTS test were just missing out on achieving a level 7.
The moderate and proportionate change is in line with the NMC’s commitment to better, safer care and will ensure that only those nurses and midwives with the right skills, knowledge and command of English are able to work in the UK.
The change will take effect from 5 December 2018. IELTS results under two years old that meet the new requirements will be considered by the regulator.
NMC said that the change is just one part of an extensive review the regulator is undertaking of its international registration processes.
Emma Broadbent, Director of Registration and Revalidation at the NMC said that “change would increase flexibility for highly skilled professionals coming to the UK without compromising safety.”
“Nurses and midwives from outside the UK are a vital part of our workforce, without them the health and care system as we know it simply wouldn’t exist.
“We absolutely recognise that good communication is essential to safer, better care and people can be assured that only those who can communicate to a high standard in English will be able to join our register.” (via NMC UK Website)