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NMC to consult on introducing language controls for EU trained nurses and midwives

22 May 2015

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) gave the go ahead yesterday to consult on new English language checks on nurses and midwives who trained in Europe and wish to work in the UK. 

Following recent changes to EU legislation, we are now consulting on our powers to require applicants to the register from the European Economic Area (EEA) to satisfy us that they have the necessary knowledge of English to practise safely and effectively in the UK. 

Jackie Smith, NMC Chief Executive, said: 

“We have pressed for language controls for years so that nurses and midwives can practise safely and effectively, in order to further protect the public. 

“The Code is clear that you must be able to communicate effectively with patients and colleagues.” 

A new ground of impairment in relation to English language competence will also be introduced to our Fitness to Practise procedures.

Applicants from outside the EEA are already required to achieve an International English Language Training System (IELTS) score of seven but under the current laws we are unable to request proof of English language ability for those trained in Europe.

The 12-week consultation will begin in June.



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 Hamant Verma at or on 0207 681 5649.