Directions to take a language assessment

Reference: INV-3

Last Updated 17/11/2017

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How we direct assessments of English language

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When a nurse or midwife is referred to us because of concerns about their knowledge of English, they can be directed to undertake a language assessment by the Registrar as part of our investigation into the allegation.

We require nurses and midwives to take a language test because we rely upon the outcome of the assessment when making a decision about whether there is evidence to support the allegation of impairment by reason of not having the necessary knowledge of English

When we give a direction to take a language assessment it will be made in writing and specify the date by which the nurse or midwife is required to both take the test and provide us with the result. This time frame will usually be 60 days, but depending on the circumstances of the case we may shorten or extend this period. An example of when we would extend this time period would be if a nurse or midwife requires reasonable adjustments to enable them to take the assessment.

When we direct nurses and midwives to take a language test we will specify that it should be an assessment provided by IELTS. However, if the nurse or midwife chose to obtain their own assessment provided by OET we would also accept the result of this. 

Failure to comply with language test directions

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If a nurse or midwife is directed to take a language test but they then fail to provide us with the evidence of having passed it, this may be used in a fitness to practise case. This is because it can be used as evidence that their fitness to practise is impaired as they do not have the necessary knowledge of English. The Fitness to Practise Committee may draw conclusions from the nurse or midwife’s failure to provide evidence of having passed the test.1

1. Rule 31(6A) of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (Fitness to Practise) Rules 2004