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Professional Regulation

Cost of test to join NMC register for overseas applicants to be cut

The computer-based test will now cost £90 and the practical exam £794.

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The cost of the test for overseas nurses to join the NMC register is to be cut by more than 20%.

The cost of the professional test of competence that overseas nurses, midwives and nursing associates must take to work in the UK will reduce by more than 20 percent, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has announced.

The change, agreed with the organisations who provide the test, will take effect on 1 April 2019 – reducing the cost of the computer-based test from £130 to £90; the full cost of the practical examination from £992 to £794 and the resit cost of the practical examination from £496 to £397.

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At a time when many of the ambitions for health and social care developments rely on nurses, midwives and nursing associates in order to be a success, this is one of a number of new proposed measures from the NMC to make it as straightforward and cost-effective as possible for people with the right skills to join its register.

Additional new proposals could make it easier for nurses wanting to re-join the register. Nurses will be able to choose a test of competence to demonstrate that their skills and knowledge are up to date, rather than undertake a course, which can take between three and 12 months to complete.

Furthermore, where people do choose a return to practice course, the NMC will no longer state the minimum length of the course. Educators will now be able to consider the skills and experience of the applicants and design the courses accordingly, increasing flexibility.

‘Challenging times’.

Andrea Sutcliffe, Chief Executive and Registrar at the NMC, said: “these are challenging times for health and social care with high vacancy and turnover rates – including over 40,000 current vacant nursing posts in the NHS in England alone – and around 5,000 nursing vacancies in social care.

“We know this has a direct and too often detrimental impact on the environment that nurses, midwives and nursing associates work in and the quality and experience of care people receive.

“By proposing a new way for even more people to get back to work after a break, and reducing the cost of the overseas test, we can enhance the numbers of professionals with the right skills coming onto our register. These are people we know are committed to providing the best and safest care possible.

I hope both of these changes show that the NMC is playing its part in positively addressing the nursing and midwifery shortages that exist in health services, adult social care services and within local communities across the UK.”

‘Recruiting more nurses’.

Danny Mortimer, Chief Executive of NHS Employers, said: “We know NHS organisations will need to continue to recruit more nurses from outside the UK as well as increase the UK supply. The openness of the NMC during the last 18 months to deliver changes to their processes has been welcomed by employers.

“The planned reductions in test fees and the proposed changes to how nurses and midwives can re-enter the register after a break from practice will be welcome news to our teams and patients. Including suitable nurses and midwives on the register as quickly as possible whilst upholding the necessary standards is critical in a competitive global market for nurses.

“Process improvement is continuous and NHS Employers looks forward to working closely with the NMC on the different reviews underway.”

Professional Regulation

NMC launches an emotional support helpline for staff involved in fitness to practise cases

The helpline is part of the NMC’s bid to become a “person-centred” regulator.

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The helpline will provide emotional and practical support for staff involved in the fitness to practise processes.

Nurses, midwives and nursing associates involved in fitness to practise can now benefit from a new, free and confidential support service.

The NMC’s Careline, operated by an independent provider, will provide emotional and practical support is also available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for nurses and midwives across the UK, and nursing associates in England, who are involved in the fitness to practise processes.

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Staff can contact the service via phone, live chat or email, to discuss concerns with specially trained counsellors who are experienced in handling sensitive topics.

Launching less than a year since the NMC set up its support service for members of the public who raise concerns when things go wrong with their nursing or midwifery care, the 12-month CareLine pilot launched on World Mental Health day.

Becoming a ‘person-centred’ regulator.

Andrea Sutcliffe CBE, Chief Executive and Registrar at the NMC, said: “Following the launch last year of our Public Support Service for people affected by poor nursing or midwifery care, I’m really pleased we’re now able to offer this new pilot resource for professionals.

“The Careline marks another important step forward in truly humanising how we operate and becoming the person-centred professional regulator that the NMC is determined to be with everyone we interact with.

“Less than one per cent of around 700,000 professionals on our register are engaged in our fitness to practise procedures, but we know that it can have a profound effect on those that are. The impact on someone’s physical and mental wellbeing as a result of being under such scrutiny mustn’t go unrecognised.

“I hope the Careline, and our forthcoming remediation guidance, further encourages support and learning when things do go wrong in nursing and midwifery care. Together, let’s help ensure that all those involved in our processes are treated with kindness and respect.”

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Professional Regulation

NMC to ensure overseas nurses can ‘join the register quickly as possible’

Overseas nurses will now be able to apply to join the register through an online system.

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The Nursing and Midwifery Council say they have streamlined the process for overseas nurses.

From today, nurses and midwives applying to join the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) register will now be able to apply through an online system allowing them to track their progress instantly.

This follows a number of changes in recent years made by the NMC to better support applicants through the registration process, which included allowing candidates to only re-sit only the portion of an OSCE they failed, improved preparation materials including a mock examination and marking criteria and updated English language requirements.

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As part of the professional regulator’s commitment to improving its approach to overseas registration, the latest changes have been designed to offer a more efficient and streamlined experience and help ensure qualified nursing and midwifery professionals can get into practice where they are needed.

‘Join the UK workforce as quickly as possible’.

According to the NMC, these changes will ensure that highly-skilled nursing and midwifery professionals can join the UK workforce as quickly as possible in order to carry out their role of delivering better, safer care for people using health and care services.

Emma Broadbent, Director of Registration and Revalidation at the NMC, said: “We have listened to people’s feedback and I’m pleased to announce that from today nurses, midwives and nursing associates from abroad will benefit from this improved process.

“We want to make sure that those who meet our requirements are able to join our register as quickly and efficiently as possible. We are hopeful that by simplifying the application process, we will continue to make the UK an attractive option for those coming from abroad.

“This is another example of how the NMC is committed to positively addressing nursing and midwifery shortages that exist in health services, adult social care services and within local communities across the UK.”

Making nurses ‘feel as welcome as possible’.

The NMC says it has seen a significant increase – rising from 2,720 last year to 6,157 in March this year – in the number of nurses and midwives joining the register for the first time from outside of the EU.

Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock said: “Nursing and midwifery is at the heart of our NHS and the social care sector, and it is important that we make those joining the health service, whether from at home or abroad, feel as welcome as possible.

“With an increasing number of applicants from around the world, this secure and efficient online service from the NMC will make it quicker for highly trained midwives, nurses and nursing associates to be able to provide compassionate care to their patients.”

“My grandmother worked in the NHS as a nurse, and I so know just how much commitment nurses put in to caring for their patients every day and night.”

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