Hopes surge as The Indian Workers Association (IWA) leaders rope in influential MPs to support the IELTS campaign….writes Rajitha Saleem
The appeal to reduce the requirement to secure an individual score of 7 in academic IELTS to gain registration with the Nursing Midwifery Council UK, (NMC) is gaining momentum with a number of MPs pledging support for the move.
The Indian Workers Association (IWA) who has taken up the cause along with the Union of UK Malayalee Organisations (UUKMA), had raised the issue at the parliament. They apprised the representative of the Prime Minister and a couple of MPs who have promised to address the issue in parliament.
From January 2016, the NMC will require overseas nurses to produce evidence showing their English language competency. This evidence will include either having passed the IELTS within the past two years, having trained on a pre-registration course that includes at least 75% clinical interaction in English, or having practised for two years in a native English country that required language assessment for registration.
In case the nurses are not able to demonstrate any of the competencies mentioned above, the applicant will have to pass the IELTS test, securing a minimum of 7.0 in each of the four areas of reading, writing, listening and speaking.
“It is unjustifiable that in spite of living here for 10 years or have become British citizens, nurses are still required to secure this high score in the IELTS tests,“ said Sugathan Thekkepura, National Executive Member, IWA. He informed that a delegation which included Malayalee nurses had passed on the details of this appeal to the Prime Minister’s residence.
Sugathan also said that a similar appeal was also raised with Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary. A number of representatives from, RCN, UNISON, Progressive Malayalee Society and UUKMA attended the pressure group discussion that was held in the parliament hall on Wednesday.
“The move to reduce the requirements will certainly benefit the overseas nurses already in the country, especially in the wake of new restrictions to bring overseas nurses to UK,” added Sugathan. He said that it will bring new opportunities for those people who have passed nursing from their home country and had been working in UK as carers, because they were not able to secure the IELTS scores. The IWA stepped in, when it realised that there were hundreds of qualified nurses who were working as carers because of this requirement.
Nora Flanagan, Operational Manager, RCN, and Susan Cueva, National Organiser, UNISON also took part in the meeting. “Our next step is to apprise Mr Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour party leader to take up the issue in the parliament, so that a favourable enforcement can be reached in this regard,” added Sugathan.
Several nurses and supporters from Bristol, Gloucestor, Derby, Cambridge, and Bournemouth along with the supporters from London took part in the discussion on Wednesday.