The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) UK, has launched an investigation following the discovery of irregular data at a Pearson VUE test center in Ibadan, Nigeria. Pearson VUE, the organization responsible for overseeing the Computer-Based Test (CBT) program on behalf of the NMC, promptly halted all testing activities at the center.
Out of the professionals registered with the NMC who qualified in Nigeria, approximately 5% (512 individuals) had taken their CBT examinations at this specific test center. The NMC is taking swift action by reaching out to these individuals to inform them of the situation. Comprehensive investigations are underway to determine whether any fraudulent or erroneous entries have been made into the register.
In light of these concerns, the NMC has temporarily paused the processing of applications from aspiring professionals who are not yet listed on the register. These applicants will be advised to retake the CBT, and additional information will be collected to inform the NMC’s final decisions on their applications.
The NMC’s top priority is to maintain the integrity of the register and protect the public. Andrea Sutcliffe, the Chief Executive and Registrar of the NMC, emphasized the organization’s commitment to following regulatory protocols. Sutcliffe assured the public that appropriate measures, including refusal of registration or removal from the register, will be taken if necessary to ensure the safety of those using health and care services. It is important to note that this incident affects only a small fraction of professionals on the register, and no concerns have been raised regarding their fitness to practice.
The CBT program, an essential component of the NMC’s Test of Competence (ToC), assesses the skills and knowledge of overseas applicants. It consists of a computer-based multiple-choice test (CBT), typically taken in the applicant’s home country, and a practical examination called the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE), conducted in the United Kingdom. Pearson VUE has been the designated test provider for the NMC since 2014.
Of the total 1,970 candidates who underwent the CBT at the Ibadan center, 512 individuals are currently registered with the NMC.
Following the discovery of irregularities, Pearson VUE immediately suspended testing operations at the Ibadan center. The NMC is collaborating closely with Pearson VUE to thoroughly examine the available data and evidence. The NMC is actively communicating with applicants and professionals on the register to provide them with comprehensive information about the situation and its implications. Investigations are underway to determine if any individuals gained unauthorized or incorrect entry into the register.
Affected individuals are being given the option to retake the test, with Pearson VUE covering the associated exam fees. However, successful completion of the retake does not guarantee entry into the register or the ability to remain on it; the NMC will consider the results along with other information to make final decisions.
The NMC will evaluate the need for interim suspension orders on a case-by-case basis, based on the evidence collected during the investigations. The primary focus is to ensure patient safety and the well-being of individuals using healthcare services.
It is essential to approach investigations about individuals objectively and transparently, without unfair discrimination. At this stage, no determinations have been made regarding the individuals involved. The NMC will continue to provide updates as the investigation progresses.