Nurses employed by the NHS are under investigation for potentially committing large-scale fraud related to their qualifications.

Nurses employed by the NHS are under investigation for potentially committing large-scale fraud related to their qualifications.

Numerous NHS employees on the front lines are providing care to patients while being investigated for their involvement in an alleged large-scale fraud involving qualifications.

Over 700 nurses are involved in a possible scandal, according to a former leader of the Royal College of Nursing who warned of potential harm to NHS patients.

The purported scam consists of individuals posing as nurses and completing a crucial exam in Nigeria, which is necessary for them to obtain registration and employment in the UK.

According to Peter Carter, former CEO of the RCN and chair of three NHS trusts, it is extremely concerning if an organization is engaged in fraudulent behavior by helping nurses cheat on tests or having others take exams for them. This could lead to the presence of incompetent nurses in the UK.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) was commended for taking measures against those responsible in order to safeguard the standard of care, patient well-being, and the credibility of nurses.

According to Carter, nurses arriving to work in the UK must have appropriate qualifications due to their responsibility in administering medications, IV therapies, and handling medical emergencies like cardiac arrests.

48 nurses are currently employed at the NHS as they are registered with the NMC, which is a requirement for anyone seeking to work as a nurse or midwife in Britain. The NMC has instructed them to retake the test to demonstrate their competence in meeting NHS standards, but they are unable to suspend their registration.

48 individuals are scheduled to have separate hearings starting in March. During these hearings, they will be required to clarify how they were able to take and pass the computer-based test (CBT) for numeracy and clinical knowledge at the Yunnik test centre in Ibadan. The recorded times of their test performance caused suspicion as they were exceptionally fast compared to those typically seen by the nursing regulatory body.

The NMC is currently taking stricter measures against 669 additional Nigerian healthcare workers, primarily nurses but also a small number of midwives, whose exam scores were obtained through fraudulent means. According to sources, the majority of these workers have already arrived in the UK.

Unfortunately, their position differs from the 48, as they are primarily believed to be employed as healthcare aides in the NHS and care facilities. This is due to the fact that their applications to be added to the NMC register have not been approved, as the investigation into widespread impersonation at the Yunnik test centre is ongoing.

Out of the 669 individuals who applied, approximately 80 nurses have successfully completed a new CBT test and have submitted their application to join the NMC register in order to begin working in their designated roles. Unfortunately, the nursing regulatory body has prohibited the majority of these applicants due to significant concerns regarding their integrity and reliability.

The NMC stated that, despite implementing a new CBT, there are still concerns about the character of individuals involved in the Yunnik incident and the information that was revealed about them.

Andrea Sutcliffe, the chief executive and registrar of the NMC, stated that they had taken strong measures in response to Pearson VUE’s report of widespread fraudulent activity at the Yunnik test centre last year. The fraudulent activity involved a “proxy tester” impersonating a nurse.

“This marks the first instance in which we have discovered substantial evidence of fraudulent activity at a testing facility,” she stated. She further mentioned that it is the largest case of fraud that the NMC has encountered thus far.

The false information at Yunnik has caused the NMC to declare the CBT test scores of 1,955 Nigerian-trained healthcare workers as invalid. Despite 1,238 individuals being unable to prove involvement in fraud, they have also been given three opportunities to retake the CBT test or risk being removed from the registry.

Sutcliffe stated that there are concerns regarding 48 individuals who are currently on the register and may have obtained their test results through fraudulent means. Hearings will be held to determine if these individuals gained entry to the register fraudulently, and if so, they will likely be removed from the register by an independent panel.

“There are 669 applicants to the register about whom we have the same fraud concerns. We’re reviewing each application carefully in line with our guidance on health and character. We’ve refused entry to the register for the vast majority of the 80 applications we’ve considered so far, and those individuals can appeal.”

The fate of the 717 nurses is still uncertain. The GMB union is concerned that those who were not accepted onto the NMC register will be sent back to Nigeria. They stated that the nurses were taken advantage of in Nigeria and urged the NMC to allow those with questionable test results to retake the test in the UK. The union also emphasized that the UK’s healthcare system needs their expertise to alleviate the nationwide shortage of nurses.

The GMB reported that two Nigerian women, who are members, had their applications for NMC registration rejected. They claimed that their test results from Yunnik were valid, but were still dismissed from their jobs at a private care home until their status was verified. Now, they are worried about being deported to Nigeria along with their families.

The leaders of this facility have taken advantage of the desire of workers to work as nurses in the UK and have left our members in a dire predicament.

“The profession’s high standards of integrity must be enforced but these aspiring nurses were badly advised, firstly to enrol at this centre and then give questionable accounts of what happened there,” said Louise Gilmour, the GMB’s Scotland secretary.

If they are able to pass the required exams in the UK, they should be given a second opportunity to work.

“These individuals are primarily female workers who are willing to relocate and make a new home in order to provide essential services in the health and social care field, which is currently facing challenges with recruiting and retaining staff.”

The NMC has discontinued the use of 40 out of 800 test centers globally, including the one at Yunnik, due to the exposed fraud.

A representative from the Department of Health and Social Care stated: “We have been made aware of the NMC’s investigations into fraudulent activity among nurses who took their computer-based test at a single center in Nigeria.”

We have been informed that the NMC is taking necessary actions to maintain the accuracy of its registry and prioritize patient safety.