Back in October, the NMC made changes to their process and on the whole those changes were welcomed by the healthcare sector and indeed by ourselves here at My Healthcare Recruit. Those changes were designed to speed up the process, making it easier to recruit professional healthcare workers and they were generally well received by the industry as a positive move.
However, ‘the devil is in the detail’ and one of the changes was that international nurses were required to have a valid English Language test certificate at the time of the OSCE. This in its own right is not a bad thing as international nurses working in the UK obviously need to speak English to interact with patients and fellow team members. However the recent pandemic has created additional challenges around this.
At MHR we plan for nurses to have a minimum of at least 6 months left on their English Language test at the time of deployment, but of course delays due to Covid-19 means that some candidates’ English Language validity has been compressed, which could jeopardize their whole application process.
The NMC has already made it known that no new nurse should be disadvantaged by Covid-19 so it is hoped that a degree of flexibility can be exercised in these very specific circumstances. Afterall the successful recruitment of international nurses is going to be one of the main ways in which the significant shortfall in the nursing sector is going to be solved.
One could also argue that the OSCE test in itself (a three hour patient-facing clinical skills test) is also an effective test of English Language skills.
The NMC has provided a 6 month grace period to candidates who meet certain criteria, but given the backlog at OSCE test centres, we are concerned this may not be sufficient for candidates overseas who have had their deployment delayed by Covid by over 6 months.
Regardless, we will of course keep you updated on all developments over the coming weeks and months.