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Antony Antoniou – Reform UK Northampton North
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(PPC) 2024 General Election

NHS Probes Nurses Over Alleged Qualification Scam

NHS Probes Nurses Over Alleged Qualification Scam

Potential scandal involves over 700 healthcare staff using proxies to fraudulently pass exam in Nigeria, enabling UK work.

Hundreds of frontline NHS personnel are treating patients while under investigation for an alleged large-scale qualifications fraud.

Over 700 nurses are caught up in a possible scandal involving proxies impersonating them and taking a key test in Nigeria required for UK registration and employment.

“It’s extremely concerning if an organization facilitated fraudulent bypassing of these tests or used surrogates for exams, as it implies incompetent nurses ending up in the UK,” said Peter Carter, former Royal College of Nursing chief executive, terming it “industrial-scale fraud.”

He commended the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) for protecting care quality, patient safety, and nurses’ reputation by acting against those involved.

Properly qualified nurses are crucial for administering drugs, IV infusions, and responding to emergencies like cardiac arrest, Carter added.

Forty-eight nurses already employed by the NHS face hearings from March, where panels may direct the NMC to remove them from the register, as their test times raised suspicions of being improbably fast.

However, the NMC is taking more direct action against 669 other Nigerian health staff, mostly nurses working as healthcare assistants in the NHS and care homes, whose test results also appeared fraudulent. Nearly all have been barred from the register due to “serious concerns” about honesty.

Andrea Sutcliffe, NMC chief executive, said robust action followed alerts of “widespread fraudulent activity” involving “proxy testers” at the Yunnik test center.

The NMC has given 1,955 Nigerian-trained professionals three chances to resit the test or face expulsion, even those without proven fraud.

The GMB union urged allowing retakes in the UK for those with suspect results to address nursing shortages, but the NMC fears deported applicants.

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