UK Nigerian Nurses Involved in “Industrial-Scale” Qualifications Fraud

Proxies sat tests for 100s of nurses at Ibadan-based Yunnik Test Centre

Yunnik Test Centre in Ibadan is at the centre of a scandal involving hundreds of Nigerian nurses in the United Kingdom who are alleged to have taken computer based tests using proxies.

More than 700 nurses currently working within the National Health Service (NHS) find themselves embroiled in a potential scandal involving an alleged “industrial-scale” qualifications fraud. This concerning revelation has prompted serious concerns from healthcare experts, including Peter Carter, former chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) and ex-chair of three NHS trusts, who has described the situation as deeply worrying.

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The alleged fraud revolves around proxies impersonating nurses to undertake a critical test in Nigeria, a test necessary for registration and employment within the UK’s healthcare system. Carter has labeled this as an “industrial-scale fraud,” highlighting the potential risks it poses to patient safety and the overall quality of care provided by the NHS.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has commendably taken swift action to address the issue and safeguard patient welfare. However, the complexity of the situation is evident in the fact that 48 of the implicated nurses are already employed within the NHS, making rescinding their admission to the NMC register challenging. While these nurses are required to retake the test to validate their skills, they cannot be suspended until individual hearings, set to commence in March, determine their fate.

In a separate development, the NMC has identified a larger group of 669 Nigerian health staff, primarily nurses, whose test results are also suspected to be fraudulent. These individuals, believed to be working as healthcare assistants in NHS facilities and care homes, face heightened scrutiny due to ongoing investigations into impersonation at the test center.

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Despite approximately 80 nurses from this group attempting to validate their credentials by retaking the test, the NMC has expressed serious reservations about their honesty and trustworthiness. Andrea Sutcliffe, the NMC’s chief executive and registrar, has emphasized the necessity of robust action in light of the widespread fraudulent activity identified at the test center.

The impact of this scandal extends beyond professional repercussions, with individuals facing uncertain futures and fears of deportation to Nigeria. The GMB union has voiced concerns over the treatment of affected nurses, urging the NMC to consider alternative measures to allow them a fair chance to validate their qualifications.

The NMC’s decisive response includes discontinuing the use of 40 test centers worldwide, including the center implicated in the fraud. Meanwhile, the Department of Health and Social Care has affirmed its support for the NMC’s efforts to uphold the integrity of its register and ensure patient safety.


There are about 7,000 Nigerian nurses in the UK

As investigations continue and hearings unfold, the fate of these hundreds of NHS staff hangs in the balance, underscoring the critical importance of maintaining the highest standards of integrity and professionalism within the healthcare sector.

According to The Nursing and Midwifery Council of the UK, about 7,000 have entered the UK since March 2021.

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Summary :

  1. Yunnik Test Centre in Ibadan, Nigeria: Allegedly played a central role in facilitating an “industrial-scale” qualifications fraud involving hundreds of nurses.
  2. Proxies Impersonating Nurses: It is alleged that proxies impersonated nurses and took a critical test at the Yunnik test centre on behalf of applicants seeking registration to work in the UK’s National Health Service (NHS).
  3. NMC’s Response: The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has taken robust action to address the situation, including initiating investigations and holding hearings to determine the validity of test results obtained at the Yunnik test centre.
  4. Pearson VUE Contract: Pearson VUE, a testing service provider, had a contract with the Yunnik test centre. Last year, Pearson VUE alerted the NMC to “widespread fraudulent activity” occurring at the centre.
  5. Impact on Applicants: The NMC has declared the computer-based test (CBT) results of 1,955 Nigerian-trained health professionals, apparently obtained at Yunnik, as invalid. Applicants face expulsion or exclusion from the register unless they can prove their qualifications legitimately.
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