The new NMC Competence Test Centre, based at Leeds General Infirmary, will host up to 7,000 nurses, midwives and nursing associates each year for their ‘OSCE’ Observed Structured Clinical Examination.
The exam is the practical part of the Test of Competence that all overseas-trained nurses or those returning after a career break are required to take before they can be registered to practice.
Until recently there were only three test centres in the UK, but with rising demand to bring people with the right skills and knowledge onto the UK’s nursing register as quickly as possible, the Nursing and Midwifery Council needed to increase national testing capacity. As such, two new centres were announced in Leeds and Newcastle.
Andrea Sutcliffe CBE, Chief Executive and Registrar of the Nursing and Midwifery Council visited Leeds General Infirmary to officially open the new centre, together with Duncan Burton, Deputy Chief Nursing Officer for England.
“I’m delighted that our newest test site is now open in Leeds, making our OSCE tests even more accessible to skilled nursing and midwifery professionals. Increasing our total national OSCE testing capacity to 35,000 candidates each year, will help more professionals to join our register quickly and safely." Andrea said.
“We’re grateful to Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust for working with us to make this happen so that people across the UK can continue to receive the safe, kind and effective care they deserve. I was particularly impressed with the care and thought Leeds had given to supporting candidates with kindness and fairness.”
Following a private tour to see the new facilities first-hand, Andrea and Duncan met with key colleagues from Leeds Teaching Hospitals.
The centre includes its own main reception and briefing room for candidates, and a clinical area comprising 12 clinical bays where the tests take place.
There is also a dedicated staff area. Refreshments are available on the wider Leeds General Infirmary site, as well as in Leeds city centre itself.
“Having a new centre in Leeds will be a huge benefit for trusts and healthcare providers locally, right across Yorkshire and nationally." said, Lisa Grant, Chief Nurse at Leeds Teaching Hospitals.
"We are so pleased that so much hard work has come to fruition today with the centre’s official opening. We’re looking forward to welcoming nursing colleagues to take their exam and proudly join or rejoin the nursing profession in England.”
The OSCE is part of the Test of Competence for nurses, midwives and nursing associate and involves a face-to-face examination using actors or simulation models to play patients presenting with a variety of medical conditions or ailments.
Nurses, midwives and nursing associates are assessed on how they care for and communicate with the patient to ensure they meet the required standards.
Anyone wanting to find out more information can visit Leeds Teaching Hospital’s OSCE centre website.