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More Than 700 Nigerian Nurses Under Investigation in UK Over Qualification Fraud in Ibadan Test Centre

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Over 700 frontline Nigerian nurses employed by the National Health Service (NHS) in England are currently being scrutinised for suspected qualification fraud.

According to the Guardian UK, the scam involves proxies impersonating nurses and taking a key test in Nigeria that must be passed before they can be registered and work in the UK.

In May, Pearson VUE, the organisation responsible for the computerised component of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) exams, raised concerns regarding unusual data originating from the Yunnik Technologies Test Centre located in Ibadan, southwest Nigeria.

A subsequent NMC investigation uncovered “widespread fraud” at the test centre. This was based on assessment completion times being “statistically significantly quicker” compared to other centres in Nigeria and globally.

Approximately five percent of the professionals on the NMC register, or 515 individuals, completed their computer assessment at this facility as of September 2023.

According to the regulator, 48 of these individuals most likely paid a proxy tester to take the exam on their behalf, and as a result, the Yunnik site’s findings were declared invalid.

These nurses were already working in the NHS when the scandal broke, and the NMC does not have the authority to suspend them; instead, it has ordered them to retake the computer exam to demonstrate their competence.

The NMC has cautioned that 669 people examined at the test facility have sought to join the registry. The great majority of the 80 applications reviewed thus far have been denied.

Hearings are set to begin next month and will result in a final decision on whether they should be yanked off the register.

“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. Internationally educated nurses and midwives make an important contribution to our health and social care systems. However, our paramount concern is to protect the public by maintaining the integrity of the register,” Andrea Sutcliffe, the NMC’s chief executive and registrar, told The Guardian.

“That’s why, when concerns were raised with us about the Yunnik test centre, we investigated thoroughly, including asking an independent expert to analyse the data. This produced evidence of widespread fraudulent activity, isolated to the Yunnik site, where we suspect some people obtained their test results fraudulently.”

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