Warning system set to prevent banned EU nurses from working in UK

The NHS Confederation has lobbied for new European Union laws to prevent unsafe nurses from 'job shopping' in the UK

Nurses and other health professionals from Europe who have been banned from practising but who are attempting to work in the UK will be flagged up by a new warning system.

The move is part of a set of new rules that came into force today, designed to enhance the freedom of movement of workers around the European Union (EU).

Existing EU law provides for healthcare professionals to have their medical or nursing qualifications recognised in EU countries other than the ones in which they trained.

However, from today, regulatory bodies across the EU will have to alert each other within three calendar days about any registrant who has been banned from practising, even temporarily, to prevent them from ‘job shopping’ around Europe.

The new rules also include speeding up online registration of general care nurses and introducing stronger checks on their abilities to speak the local languages.

All EU countries will also be required to encourage continuing professional development.

NHS Confederation’s European director Elisabetta Zanon welcomed the changes.  She said: ‘It is vitally important that patients are protected from unsafe practitioners as people’s lives are in their hands.

‘More than any other country in the EU, the UK relies on doctors, nurses and other health professionals trained elsewhere.  We could not run the NHS without them. So we welcome moves to cut red tape and encourage people to relocate.

‘We will keep influencing future developments, especially where we think they may not be beneficial.

‘Our job is to stay ahead of the game so that the NHS benefits from the contribution of well-qualified incomers without jeopardising high quality care.’

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