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McCallion calls for changes to language test to help recruit overseas nurses

30 August, 2017 - by Elisha McCallion

Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion has called for changes to the language requirements for overseas nurses in order to boost recruitment. 

The Foyle MP said; 

Speaking after meeting with representatives of the Royal College of Nursing, the Foyle MP said: 

"We are all aware of the pressures on our health service brought about by ongoing Tory austerity. Among the challenges faced the health service is the recruitment of staff, including nurses. 

"I met recently with representatives of the Royal College of Nursing and one of the issues they raised was the difficulty in recruiting nurses from other EU member states and overseas as a result of the English language tests. 

"EU and overseas nurses have to pass in the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) with a score of seven in each module. 

"This test is notoriously difficult. In some cases candidates who have English as their first language fail the test. RCN representatives maintain that it is of an unnecessarily high standard. 

"They have said a slight lowering of the threshold for passing would help recruit more much-needed nurses into our health service to deliver vital front-line services to a safe and high standard. 

"This is something which should be considered as a means of helping to ease the pressures on our health system and improve delivery."

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