Trusts are being asked to consider whether European training curriculum for health professionals should replace national programmes, in order to encourage migration.

The proposal is one of several being consulted on by the NHS Confederation after being put forward by the European Commission.

The changes would also allow regulators such as the Nursing and Midwifery Council to introduce new “adaptation” tests for European workers who fail aptitude tests.

Some patients groups have expressed concern that this could lead to a drop in standards for immigrant nurses.

An NMC spokeswoman responded: “It will include components relating to safeguarding children and adults, as well as rigorous testing of numeracy and drug calculations in a range of healthcare settings.

“The test will only be available in English so participants will need to demonstrate proficient communication skills in order to be successful.”

The changes could also see nurses given a European “professional” card containing information on their credentials.

In addition, a mandatory alert mechanism would be established for health regulatory bodies to warn each other about fraudulent or dangerous professionals.

The deadline for responses is 3 March 2011.