Specialist Language Courses

SLC Publish Research Report into the Impact of IELTS 7.0 on the Recruitment of EEA-trained Nurses into the UK

Statistics published last week showed a dramatic drop in the numbers of EEA-trained nurses joining the NMC register, as reported in the Nursing Times[1] and national media[2]. In December 2016, only 101 nurses joined, a year on year fall of 35.7% and the lowest monthly figure for the year.

We believe that the decision taken 1 year ago by the NMC to change the English Language requirements for EEA-trained nurses registering in the UK is fundamental to this drop. This decision was that all new registrants now need to score 7.0 in the international IELTS Academic English language test.

This was considered a controversial choice at the time, especially from those in the English Language Teaching sector with extensive experience of preparing candidates for the IELTS test. Many felt that such an advanced requirement would present a significant challenge for overseas nurses. After all, 7.0 is the level Oxford and Harvard Universities require non-native English undergraduates to score in order to take a degree course.

At Specialist Language Courses (SLC), we work extensively with medical professionals, both on Clinical English and – increasingly – on IELTS Preparation programmes, so are seeing some of the issues close up. 1 year on from the NMC decision, we decided to look in detail at what impact this change has had on recruiting nurses from across the EU – as well as further afield – in what are clearly very challenging times for the NHS.

Our research team spoke to 10 NHS Trusts and Health Boards to get their thoughts and insights on the introduction of the test, the effect it is having on recruitment, what they are doing to deal with the challenges it presents, and how this maps against the wider context of nursing in the UK.

Our findings are both revealing and surprising. They are presented in our Research Report, ‘The Impact of IELTS 7.0 on the Recruitment of EEA-trained Nurses’. We invite you download the report, read and share with any interested colleagues or parties.

Read the Report

We are also sharing the findings in this report with the media and would love to hear from people with other views and voices, to add to those we’ve quoted within. If you have a story related to IELTS 7.0 and are keen to share it, please get in touch.

T: 01273 900213

E: enquiries@specialistlanguagecourses.com

[1] https://www.nursingtimes.net/news/workforce/significant-drop-in-eu-nurse-numbers-for-first-time-in-years/7015097.article?blocktitle=top-news-story&contentID=20559

[2] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2017/01/25/number-eu-nurses-coming-uk-falls-90-per-cent-since-brexit-vote/