Language Relaxation may Increase Nurse Recruitment in the UK

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Increase in the threshold to pass International English Language test (IELTS) may give a sigh of relief to the foreign nurses as NHS trust has requested to lower the threshold for non-English speaking countries.

IELTS is a mandatory language test that is required to be given by all non- European nurses, which covers reading, writing, listening and speaking. The standard threshold for nurses from countries other than the European Union is 7.0 out of 9.0.

Nursery and Midwifery Council (NMC) has been asked by NHS to reduce this standard due to a shortage of nurses as this may lead to poor management of hospitals.

According to two trips made by Rachel Overfield, director of NHS trust, they had offered jobs to more than 100 nurses and almost all the nurses were willing to work for the post. But, unfortunately, they could hire only 3 of them as rest of them couldn’t pass the standard threshold of 7.0 in IELTS.

Rachel also stated that she is really confident that the ones they have offered posts to, are capable of doing their job but they couldn’t get them through because of the NMC rules.

On the other hand, NMC executive, Jackie Smith has told that they are fully aware of the shortage of nursing staff but cannot lower the standards as this may increase the public protection risk.

The introduction of same pass score, since 2016, for European nurses as well as non-European nurses has also marked a remarkable decline in nurses from European origin registering with the NMC.

Considering these facts, the possibilities are, NMC will reduce the pass mark for the written section of IELTS and may introduce OET (Occupational English Test).

OET is another English Verifying Test which especially emphasizes on communication in a healthcare environment.  It was introduced by the University of Cambridge for Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore.


If you are a nurse seeking for great international career opportunities, download our International Recruitment Guide:
Guide to International Recruitment


If you have sponsor licenses and are looking to recruit nurses and doctors, we are here to help. We now have more than 600 nurses who have undergone our training and IELTS who are ready for employers.

All you need to do is reach us at internationalrecruit@theflamelily.co.uk or fill this form:
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