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September 27, 2019 Friday 07:53:58 AM IST

Doctors, Nurses Need Not Take TOEFL, IELTS Exam to Practice in UK

Education Information

Doctors, nurses, dentists and mid-wives who wish to practice in the UK will no longer have to appear for English language tests like TOEFL and IELTS as the country will now accept scores of Occupational English Test (OET) which the candidates have to anyway clear for registering with the relevant healthcare regulator.

The OET is an international English language test that assesses the language communication skills of healthcare professionals, who seek to register and practise in an English-speaking environment. The candidates had to earlier take OET to register with Nursing and Midwifery Council and the General Medical Council, which are the two healthcare boards in the UK, as well as TOEFL or IELTS like exam to apply for visa.

"The UK Home Office has streamlined English language testing ensuring that doctors, dentists, nurses and midwives, who have already passed an English language test accepted by the relevant professional body, do not have to sit another test before entry to the UK on a Tier 2 visa," said Sujata Stead, CEO and Cambridge Boxhill Language Assessment, which conducts the OET.

"This change which was announced last week will make sure that hospitals and medical practices across the country will be able to access the staff they need more quickly," she added. The change will apply to all Tier 2 (General) visa applications submitted from October 1.


The Occupational English Test (OET) is designed to meet the specific English language needs of the healthcare sector. It assesses the language proficiency of healthcare professionals who wish to register and practise in an English-speaking environment.

OET is conducted by Cambridge Boxhill Language Assessment (CBLA), a venture between Cambridge Assessment English andBox Hill Institute. Cambridge Assessment English is a not-for-profit department of the University of Cambridge.

The test is recognised as proof of English proficiency for registration purposes by major healthcare boards and councils in the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Dubai, Singapore, Namibia and Ukraine. It is also accepted in Australia and New Zealand for visa and immigration purposes.


OET is used as an entry or exit test for healthcare courses by educators and as recruitment criterion for employment of healthcare professionals. The test is conducted for health practitioners from 12 professions - dentistry, dietetics, medicine, nursing, occupational therapy, optometry, pharmacy, physiotherapy, podiatory, radiography, speech pathology and veterinary science.

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