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Overseas registration backlog caused by volume of EU applicants

Employers' staffing plans hampered by length of time NMC takes to process foreign nurses' paperwork

An ‘exceptional’ influx of nurses from the European Union is to blame for the regulator missing overseas nurse registration targets, officials claim.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council has an annual target to process 90% of foreign applications within 68 days of receipt – but in April it assessed just 61% (1,430).

The regulator said there had been an exceptionally high number of EU-based applications. It attributed this to nurses attempting to join the UK register ahead of the introduction of language controls.

Since January, European applicants have been asked for evidence of their competence in English. If they cannot demonstrate this, they must sit a language exam.

The NMC said this led to it missing its target for assessing applications from overseas nurses, whether from inside or outside the EU. Year-on-year increase

The organisation received 2,507 applications to join the register from EU nurses in

An ‘exceptional’ influx of nurses from the European Union is to blame for the regulator missing overseas nurse registration targets, officials claim.  

The Nursing and Midwifery Council has an annual target to process 90% of foreign applications within 68 days of receipt – but in April it assessed just 61% (1,430).

The regulator said there had been an exceptionally high number of EU-based applications. It attributed this to nurses attempting to join the UK register ahead of the introduction of language controls.

Since January, European applicants have been asked for evidence of their competence in English. If they cannot demonstrate this, they must sit a language exam.

The NMC said this led to it missing its target for assessing applications from overseas nurses, whether from inside or outside the EU.
Year-on-year increase

The organisation received 2,507 applications to join the register from EU nurses in January 2016. The corresponding figure last year was 1,834.

Before April, the target for processing was 70 days but in February and March only 65% (1,706) and 63% (1,538) respectively were assessed on time. This is a significant slowdown from October 2015 when 99.8% (2,504) of applications were dealt with inside 70 days.

Frustrating for employers

RCN senior international adviser Susan Williams said there might be some frustrated employers as a result of the NMC’s performance.

East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust associate director of workforce Thomas Simons said: ‘The numbers might fluctuate but the fact it takes 68 days alone is a huge timescale for NHS employers trying to address the staffing shortfall.’

A NMC spokesperson said it is now meeting its target for processing EU nurses' applications.

 

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