Possible law changes could ‘make it easier’ for overseas nurses to join NHS

  • Liz Truss announces improvements in access to NHS services
  • Ministers to change legislation for overseas nurses to join the UK register
  • New Legislation to provide more flexibility regarding “competence”

    In her first speech outside Number 10 as PM, Liz Truss said she would ensure that people would get doctors’ appointments and access to the NHS services they need.”We will put our health service on a firm footing”. This will necessitate addressing the NHS staffing crisis. It is likely that Ministers will propose changes to legislation to make it easier for overseas nurses to join the UK register.

    The new legislation would give the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) more flexibility to change processes in relation to qualification comparability and the assessment of international applicants and to explore alternative registration routes to its test of competence.

    Linda Everet, assistant director for registration and revalidation at the NMC, said: “While this amended legislation gives us greater flexibility for the future, we currently have no plans to move away from the test of competence as our primary route to the register for internationally trained professionals, who make a vital contribution to UK health and care services.”

    DHSC had said its aim is to ensure that future registration processes for health professionals outside the UK are “proportionate and streamlined, while continuing to robustly protect patient safety”.

    In August, the government announced that it had signed a deal with the Nepalese government to recruit up to 100 nurses to work in the UK, despite Nepal appearing on the World Health Organization’s ‘red list’ that bans overseas recruitment of healthcare staff. In the same month, the then health secretary, Steve Barclay, said he had ordered civil servants to “work at pace” to draw up proposals that would “significantly increase ” international recruitment of health workers, including nurses. Hiring more nurses from countries including India, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines would help tackle workforce shortages.

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