§ Malcolm Bruce
To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on difficulties experienced by the Nursing and Midwifery Council in dealing with applications. 
§ Mr. Hutton
The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) was established on 1 April 2002 and inherited from its predecessor the United Kingdom Central Council its resources, systems and processes for the registration of nurses, midwives and health visitors.
Its establishment coincided with the installation of a new information technology system commissioned by its predecessor which has resulted in a backlog in dealing with new applications.
The NMC has taken action to resolve the issues including improving communications, targeting resources to tackle the backlogs and undertaking a review of systems and processes. I am advised that the NMC has cleared the backlogs in the UK applications and is continuing to target resources at registration applications from those qualified overseas.