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Competence Test Centre will continue keeping patients safe

Date 19.10.2021

The University of Northampton will continue ensuring safe patient care in the NHS, with the announcement that its Competence Test Centre (CTC) will remain open.

Regulator the Nursing and Midwifery Council has today awarded contracts to five partners to deliver the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) part of the Test of Competence* (ToC) from February 2022 onwards.

The ToC enables professionals trained overseas and those returning to practice after significant time away to demonstrate that they have the skills and knowledge to care for people safely and effectively.

In addition to renewing contracts with current OSCE test sites at University of Northampton, Oxford Brookes University and Ulster University, the Nursing and Midwifery Council has also awarded contracts to Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and Northumbria University.

Dr Jacob Saranga, Dean of the Faculty of Health, Education and Society said: “Since opening six years ago, our busy Competence Test Centre team have managed many changes, including moving to its current location in our Innovation Centre, increasing operations to six days a week – before and during the Covid-19 pandemic – and welcoming nursing associate candidates.

“In that time, they have also tested more than 15,000 nurses, midwives and nursing associates from outside the UK, that has helped make sure the safety and good care of patients across the UK continues.

“Added to this remarkable achievement is the introduction of two new sites, who the Northampton team and I welcome to the ‘CTC family’.”

Andrea Sutcliffe, Chief Executive and Registrar of the Nursing and Midwifery Council added:

“‘I’m delighted that we’ve been able to significantly increase our OSCE test centre provision.

“This additional capacity will mean professionals with the right skills and knowledge will have more choice in where to take their test, enabling them to join our register quickly and safely.

“I look forward to working closely with our test centre partners as we get our new test centres up and running in the coming months.’

“The NMC will be able to work with its test centre partners to explore innovative ways of offering the test of competence to extend accessibility and availability across the UK.”


*The NMC uses the Test of Competence (ToC) to assess the skills and knowledge of people applying to join our register from overseas or rejoin our register after a long period away from practice. Each Test of Competence is split into two parts – a multiple-choice computer-based test known as the CBT, and a practical test known as the OSCE.

Further information about the Test of Competence and the OSCE can be found on their website.