NMC announces reopening of OSCE test centres

Published on 02 July 2020

Read our update

We’re pleased to announce that from 20 July, objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) test centres will reopen, allowing nursing and midwifery professionals trained outside the EEA to complete their tests in a safe, socially distanced way.

From today (Thursday 02 July) candidates will be able to book their test at any of the three UK test centres, which have been closed since March following the coronavirus pandemic.

Candidates who have joined our temporary register to support the UK’s response to Covid-19 can now proceed to take the OSCE in order to join the permanent register and will receive priority booking.

Passing the OSCE is an important part of ensuring that those joining our permanent register meet our standards and can practise without the conditions or supervision that were necessary for temporary registration. And the requirement for us to assess candidates from outside the EEA is a core part of the regulations that govern our work. Candidates can stay on the temporary register and continue to work while they await their test and once on the permanent register, conditions of practice will be removed. 

We considered whether other options for facilitating the transition to the permanent register were available but concluded that the OSCE test is the quickest and most effective option, which meets our standards and provides the necessary level of assurance for permanent full registration.

We also recognise that many of the candidates for the OSCE are from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds (BAME) and that BAME people have been disproportionately affected by Covid-19. We know how important it is that people feel safe and supported when taking their OSCE test and when going to work which is why this has been a key consideration in all of our risk assessments.

Finally, a working group will be established with the NMC and its partners to ensure test centre capacity and demand is planned and supported in the months ahead.

Emma Broadbent, Director of Professional Regulation for the Nursing and Midwifery Council, said:

“I’m delighted to be able to announce the reopening of the OSCE test centres for overseas nursing and midwifery professionals wishing to join our permanent register. Our test centre partners have worked incredibly hard over recent weeks to carry out rigorous Covid-19 risk assessments and to ensure that testing can resume in a safe, socially distanced way.

“Overseas nursing and midwifery professionals are a vital part of the UK’s health and care workforce and getting these test centres back up and running a key step on our journey to a new normal and is essential to ensuring highly skilled professionals can join our register in a timely way.

“I am incredibly grateful to those who have joined our temporary register to support the response to Covid-19 and to those who are looking come to work in the UK in the future. I look forwarded to welcoming them on to our permanent register in the weeks ahead.”

Find out more about OSCE test centres reopening.

Background information

The objective structure clinical examination (OSCE) is a part of our test of competence (ToC), which is how we make sure nurses, midwives and nursing associates trained outside the EU have the right knowledge and skills to practise safely.

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