Flood of applications from EU and overseas is 'unprecedented', says NMC

Surge blamed on nurses hoping to avoid new English language tests

The Nursing and Midwifery Council is processing a backlog of more than 3,000 applications from European Union and overseas nurses wanting to work in the UK.

The NMC claims ‘a bulk’ of the applications will be resolved in the next month, although it will take a third of a year before all are completed.

The backlog was highlighted at this week’s NMC council meeting in London. The regulator attributes the unusually high figure to nurses rushing to apply before new requirements to speak English came into effect in January.

In 2015 the average number of applications passed by the NMC to its regulation team was 700 a month, but in January this year it jumped to 1,977 a month.

February’s figure was 1,029 and all are being considered using the pre-language control system.

The NMC has a target of 90% of all EU/overseas applications being assessed within 70 days. Between December 2015 and January this year, that number plummeted from 86.3% to 53.4%.

NMC interim director of registrations Tom Kirkbride called the number of applications ‘unprecedented’.


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