The UK Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) says the registrations of those who passed its exams at a computer-based test (CBT) centre in Ibadan, Nigeria, could be “fraudulent or incorrect”.
The NMC uses a test of competence (ToC) to assess the skills and knowledge of people applying to join its register from overseas.
The test has two main parts: a multiple-choice CBT which applicants usually write in their home country; and a practical test known as the OSCE which people take in the UK.
In a statement on Thursday, the NMC said an organisation called Pearson VUE which runs the CBT programme on its behalf, recently raised the alarm of “anomalous data” at one of its third-party CBT centres in Ibadan.
The NMC said Pearson VUE stopped testing at the centre immediately.
A total of 1,970 candidates took their CBT at this centre, of whom 512 are on the NMC register.
“A total of 512 people on our register (around five percent of all the professionals on our register who qualified in Nigeria) took their CBT at this test centre,” the statement reads.
“We’re writing to them to set out what’s happened and to tell them we’re opening cases to determine whether or not they gained fraudulent or incorrect entry to the register.
“More people have applied to join the register but are not yet on it, therefore they can’t practise as a nurse or midwife. We’ve paused their applications.
“We’re writing to these applicants to ask them to retake the test, and to request more information that we’ll use to make a final decision about their applications.
“Pearson VUE has reviewed all data relating to the NMC’s CBT from every test site globally, and there is no evidence of similar activity at any other site.
“Our paramount concern is to maintain the integrity of the register to protect the public. At the same time, it’s critical we approach any investigations about individuals objectively and transparently, avoiding any unfair discrimination.”
However, the UK NMC noted that it has “not yet made any determinations about individuals”.