This site is intended for healthcare professionals only

Language controls for overseas nurses to be introduced

Written by: | Published:

Language controls will be in force from 18 January Language controls will be in force from 18 January

From 18 January, all nurses from the EU will be required to prove they have a competent grasp of English in order to join the NMC register.

The NMC has said that the changes to the rules are not imposing a blanket language test on European trained applicants. However, if EU nurses are unable to provide sufficient evidence of language skills, they will be required to undertake a language assessment in order to join the NMC register. Evidence that will allow nurses to skip the test includes training or working in an English-speaking country.

‘We have pressed for language controls for years so that nurses and midwives can practice safely and effectively, in order to further protect the public,’ said Jackie Smith, the NMC’s chief executive. ‘The code is clear that you must be able to communicate effectively with patients and colleagues.’

The change in legislation will also allow the NMC to investigate nurses’ or midwives’ fitness to practice if concerns over their ability to communicate effectively in English are raised.

'Public safety must be the driving force behind this and as such, these proposals make a lot of sense,’ said Louise Silverton, director of midwifery at the RCM. ‘They will help to ensure that midwives who work in the UK have the level of competence in reading, writing and speaking English needed to ensure good communication with the people they care for.'

What do you think? Leave a comment below or tweet your views to @IndyNurseMag

This material is protected by MA Healthcare Ltd copyright.
See Terms and Conditions.


This assessment is long overdue, I hope it will be monitored for outcomes on patient satisfaction and better medical care and the way nursing care is being delivered
Posted by: ,

Please view our Terms and Conditions before leaving a comment.

Change the CAPTCHA codeSpeak the CAPTCHA code

Read a free issue from Practice Nursing

Register to read a free issue from our sister publication, Practice Nursing.

Including articles on asthma, diabetes and more. Read your copy.


Sign up to the newsletter


Independent Nurse is the professional resource for primary care and community nurses, providing clinical articles for practice nurses and prescribers.


Subscribe to our newsletter and stay up to date with the latest nursing news.

Stay Connected

Stay social with Independent Nurse by following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook or connecting on LinkedIn.


Need access to some of our older articles? You can view our archive, or alternatively contact us.

Contact Us

MA Healthcare Ltd.
St Jude's Church, Dulwich Road
London, SE24 0PB

Tel: +44 (0)20 7738 5454
Registered in England and Wales No. 01878373

Meet the team


Find out how to contribute to Independent Nurse here.