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The Ulster University School of Nursing and Paramedic Science hosts and operates a vital Nursing Midwifery Council (NMC) Competence Test Centre (CTC); which has, over the years, expanded to meet growing demand but will now move to a new site at Foyle House following its purchase by the University.

The new site will enable the University to welcome over 8,000 internationally-educated nursing and midwifery candidates per year from around the world, who visit to take Part 2 of their NMC Test of Competence, the Objective Structured Clinical Exam (OSCE) assessment in order to join the NMC live Register of nurses, midwives and nursing associates.

Foyle House shares a border with the University’s Duncreggan Student Village, a very short walk from campus buildings. The Foyle House site includes car parking provision to service the needs of those visiting the CTC.

The development of the site has commenced and it is expected to be fully operational by late Spring / early Summer 2024.

Meanwhile the space previously occupied by the CTC on the campus in Derry~Londonderry will be used to support further growth in the student population.

About the CTC

The CTC on the Derry~Londonderry campus is one of just five in the UK – and the only one in Northern Ireland - supporting nursing capacity and alleviating pressures on the health service across the UK and reflecting the University’s expertise and leadership in nursing.

First established in 2017, the test centre has not only helped to alleviate pressures on the health sector, but it has also become an economic driver for the North West with businesses across the city reaping the many benefits of increased visitor numbers.  

Nurses and midwives educated outside of the UK are required to undergo comprehensive assessment in order to confirm their competency before they can practice in the UK. The designated test centre on the Derry~Londonderry campus delivers the OSCE, which tests candidates’ skills, knowledge and behaviours in a simulated practice environment. This is the final test that candidates must pass in order to gain registration as a nurse, midwife or nursing associate in the UK.  

With a responsive approach to meeting the needs of individuals and organisations, the School of Nursing and Paramedic Science at Ulster University facilitates much needed registered nurses and midwives, who have been recruited from overseas, in their journey to registration. This enables them to move forward in establishing their career in the UK whilst making a valued and essential contribution to the health of the public through their knowledge, expertise and experience.  

Since opening in 2017, over 32,000 nurses from countries including Canada, Japan, Philippines, India, Africa, and Barbados have undertaken the OSCE at the Ulster University Competence Test Centre (CTC) and are now working in healthcare settings across Northern Ireland, England, Wales and Scotland.

Andrea Sutcliffe, NMC Chief Executive and Registrar, said:

"Internationally educated professionals, and those returning to practice, make an important and valuable contribution to our nation’s health and wellbeing. Since opening its test site in 2017, Ulster University has played a vital role in welcoming these skilled and knowledgeable professionals from all over the world. 

"Its expansion will ensure that rising numbers of international and returning professionals are able to join our register safely and quickly. This is good news for their future colleagues and for people who use health and care services across Northern Ireland.”

Professor Carol Curran, Pro-Vice Chancellor and Executive Dean of the Faculty of Life and Health Sciences at Ulster University commented:

This significant development signifies our continued commitment to the Derry~Londonderry campus and our ambitions for momentum in development here. This allows us to expand our campus footprint into a neighbouring site and importantly, benefits the local economy in the North West by boosting international travel to Derry~Londonderry with associated bed nights in local hotels.  

“Additionally, some 90 staff – most of whom are local nurses - are employed in the CTC as assessors and patient role players so this CTC allows us to support the local economy though employment too. We have plans for further recruitment now that our CTC will expand on the Foyle House site.”  

Professor Neal Cook, Professor of Nursing and Head of School of Nursing and Paramedic Science said

“We are delighted to see our CTC provision expand from 12 to 20 testing bays at our new site, maximising the responsive provision to facilitating internationally educated nurses from all over the globe to enter the NMC live register. This enhanced provision will expand on our ability to support these nurses and their sponsors as well as provide our team with bespoke facilities to maximise the quality of our provision, The community support and hospitality the candidates receive on their visit to the city also enhances their positive experience. This is a team and service to be proud of, particularly given the impact on health services nationally”.

Ulster University has an international reputation for nursing excellence and is rated top 10 in the UK for nursing (QS World Subject Rankings 2023 and Complete University Guide 2024).