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Professional Regulation

NMC plans to make it easier for nurses to re-join the register

The cost of tests to join NMC register for overseas applicants are also to be cut

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The Nursing and Midwifery Council have announced changes to competency testing and return to practice courses.

Those wanting to re-join the register following a career break will be able to undertake a test of competence rather than undertake a return to practice course, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has announced.

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.

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Additionally, the cost of the professional test of competence that overseas nurses, midwives and nursing associates must take to work in the UK reduce in price.

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.

‘Challenging times’.

Andrea Sutcliffe, Chief Executive and Registrar at the NMC, said: As today’s report from the Health Foundation, King’s Fund and Nuffield Trust lays bare; 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.”

‘A welcome change’.

Royal College of Nursing Professional Associate Director of Nursing (Education and Learning) Stephanie Aiken said: “Nurses and midwives from all over the world play a vital part in our NHS workforce. Anything that can reduce the cost for registered nurses from overseas wanting to join this workforce has to be welcomed.

“The RCN called for these changes to the process of applying to join the UK register after work with members and international nursing applicants identified problems.

“The additional proposals aimed at making it easier for those wanting to re-join the register following a career break are also a positive move which will hopefully encourage people back into nursing.

“With nearly 40,000 nursing vacancies in the NHS in England alone we urgently need investment to close the gap and ensure we have enough staff to provide safe and effective care for patients”.

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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