Competence test centre opens in Northampton

17 November 2014

At the heart of a new system to assess the skills, knowledge and behaviours of nurses and midwives who trained outside Europe is a test of competence. This test makes sure those joining the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s (NMC) register are meeting the UK’s standards. 

Jackie Smith, NMC Chief Executive and Registrar, said:

“Each year, hundreds of nurses and midwives who trained outside Europe apply to practise in the UK. As a responsible regulator, we need to make sure that they are able to demonstrate clinical and theoretical knowledge as well as the professional values that will ensure patient-centred, compassionate care. This test will put candidates through scenarios that they may find in the UK’s health services. 

“This method of testing competence has been used in countries around the world for many years. It is important that we recognise and anticipate changes within healthcare services in the UK. We know that the current system, while effective, can impact on workforce planning and that isn’t good for the profession or the public we protect. This new method of assessing competence addresses that issue and demonstrates our continued commitment to public protection.”  

Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter said: 

“Overseas nurses and midwives make a valuable contribution to health and social care in the UK but it's vital they have the right skills and qualifications. 

“This new test centre will help the NMC to ensure new recruits joining the register are fit to practise at the UK required standard.” 

More information on the new registration process for nurses and midwives who trained overseas is available here.



Notes for editors

1.   The Nursing and Midwifery Council exists to protect the public. We do this by ensuring that only those who meet our requirements are allowed to practise as a nurse or midwife in the UK. We take action if concerns are raised about whether a nurse or midwife is fit to practise.

2.   For media enquiries, please contact Ann Brown or Hannah Schraer at or on 020 7681 5649/5936.