UK fast tracks overseas nurses onto its temporary register as COVID infections surge

Serious hispanic or middle eastern overworked healthcare worker looking at the camera using a surgical mask and protective eyewear

In the wake of soaring COVID cases, UK’s Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) wants to add additional overseas-trained nurses to its Covid-19 temporary register to strengthen workforce capacity in the immediate period and coming weeks.

“In agreement with the Department of Health and Social Care and the four UK Chief Nursing Officers, we are initially inviting just over 2,000 nurses who have trained overseas and are ready to take the final stage of their permanent registration application process, to join the temporary register,” said Andrea Sutcliffe CBE, the NMC’s Chief Executive and Registrar.

“As the coronavirus pandemic rages on, we can all see that health and social care services in England and right across the UK are facing their toughest challenge yet,” she said.

“The impact of rising Covid-19 infection rates and related hospital admissions alongside winter pressures and the vital rollout of the vaccine program is putting tremendous strain on our health and care professionals.”

About one in 50 people across England now has coronavirus, England’s chief medical officer Chris Whitty said.

On the back of the new and more contagious variant of COVID, the current number of cases across the UK now stands at 3.12 million, while there have been 81,960 reported deaths caused by the virus.

Government data showed the rate of COVID cases across UK rose from 287 per 100,000 people on December 16 to 487 per 100,000 people on December 30 2020- an increase of 70%, Mr Whitty said.

“The temporary emergency register the NMC established in March 2020 includes thousands of former nurses ready to help, many already making an important contribution.” Ms Sutcliffe said.

“In response to the increasing pressures, we are announcing today the further expansion of the temporary register so that as many overseas-trained nurses as possible can opt in to help if they wish to.”

“From next week, we will also be contacting overseas-trained nurses whose applications to join the permanent register are in progress. We will be working with their employers to determine whether they can be included in the temporary register.”

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