The decision has been made to support “the current emergency situation as quickly as possible”.
The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has invited additional overseas-trained nurses to join its Covid-19 temporary register.
The regulator says it has made the decision to support “the current emergency situation as quickly as possible” and “help strengthen workforce capacity in the immediate period and coming week”.
According to the regulator, two additional cohorts of overseas-trained nurses will be offered temporary registration while they complete the final stages of their application to join the permanent register.
Then from next week, overseas-trained nurses from whom the NMC has received a registration application and relevant supporting declarations will be contacted.
For this group, the NMC will work with employers to identify who they wish to include on the temporary register and to provide certification regarding each applicant’s English language ability, clinical skills, health and character.
The new cohort of overseas temporary registrants will have to work under the same conditions as those already on the temporary register, which includes working under an NMC registered nurse, or other registered health care professional.
Recruits must be appropriately assessed, trained and vaccinated.
RCN Chief Executive & General Secretary Dame Donna Kinnair said: “The measures announced today are vital to expand the nursing workforce temporarily and help services in providing care to patients.
“The level of vacant nurse jobs in England was high before the pandemic and nursing staff have been stretched even further in the last 10 months.
“With many of the expected overseas nurses coming from BAME backgrounds, our concerns about appropriate PPE in light of the new variant of COVID-19 take on a renewed importance.
“We urge government ministers and scientists to recommend higher level PPE as a precaution immediately. This is for all nursing staff working in COVID-19 settings, whether permanent or temporary members of the NMC register.
“The government and regulator must work closely with employers to ensure that new recruits are appropriately assessed, trained and vaccinated like other staff.
“In the longer-term, the UK must end its over-reliance on overseas nursing staff by investing in domestic education programmes and providing the real financial support nursing students require.”