NMC introduces English language checks on European nurses

Regulator will now check the English language skills of all nurses applying to join its register from outside the UK

From today (January 19), all nurses and midwives from outside the UK applying to join the UK register will have to demonstrate a high standard of English, including applicants from the European Economic Area (EEA). 

Previously the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) had only been allowed, under law, to make language checks on nurses and midwives from outside the EEA, but now the regulator will check the English language skills of all nurses and midwives coming to work in the UK from Europe.

NMC chief executive Jackie Smith said: ‘The ability to communicate effectively with patients is fundamental to patient safety and a principle that is central to our code.

‘We can now investigate patient safety concerns in relation to a nurse or midwife’s ability to communicate effectively in English.’

She added that this move, combined with a new warning system which flags up nurses and other healthcare professionals who have been banned from practising, will make it easier for European Union member states to share fitness to practise information. 

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