The United Kingdom Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) says the registrations of a total of 512 nurses and midwives who passed its exams at a computer-based test (CBT) centre in Ibadan, Nigeria, could be “fraudulent or incorrect”.
This is according to a press statement posted on the website of the NMC.
The NMC said it was writing to them to set out what happened and to tell them it was opening cases to determine whether or not they gained fraudulent or incorrect entry to the register.
READ ALSO: US Charges 18 Nigerian Nurses, Others To Court Over Fake Certificates
The NMC uses a Test of Competence to assess the skills and knowledge of people applying to join its register from overseas.
This has two main parts: a multiple-choice computer-based test known as the CBT, which applicants usually sit in their home country; and a practical test known as the OSCE, which people take in the UK.
The CBT is split into two parts: Part A covers numeracy, and Part B covers clinical questions for nursing or midwifery.
A company called Pearson VUE runs the CBT. They have been the NMC’s test provider since 2014, when the test was introduced.
Pearson VUE alerted the regulator to “anomalous data” at one of its third-party CBT centres in Ibadan, Nigeria.
The NMC Chief Executive and Registrar, Andrea Sutcliffe, said, “Data from one test site in Nigeria is unusual and concerning. We have regulatory processes which we will now follow, and if necessary, we can refuse registration or remove people from our register, to protect the public and people who use health and care services.
“We know the public and people who use services may find this worrying. This affects just over 500 out of the 771,445 professionals on our register. They will all have passed the practical test in this country before they were accepted onto the register and to date no concerns have been referred to us about their fitness to practise.
“We should remember that thousands of nurses and midwives who were educated overseas have safely joined our register recently and continue to provide safe, effective and kind care across the UK.”
The NMC said a total of 1,970 candidates took their CBT at this centre, of whom 512 are on the NMC register.
It said no fitness to practise concerns had been raised about anyone on the register in this group.
“But clearly, if someone has gained entry to the register incorrectly or fraudulently, then the NMC will need to take action.
“The NMC is approaching investigations about individuals objectively and transparently, avoiding any unfair discrimination. It has not yet made any determinations about individuals. Unless the NMC decides there is sufficient evidence to seek an interim suspension order, individuals will be able to continue to work,” it noted.