NHS Body To Test Foreign Doctors

Language Skills Of Doctors Put To The Test


The new NHS Commissioning Board will be given responsibility for making sure the language and clinical skills of foreign doctors from within the EU are up to the required standard, according to the Department of Health.

A spokeswoman said: "The Government has announced that it will look at how the NHS Commissioning Board might help strengthen the system of checking that doctors demonstrate language competency.

"Under the Directive on Professional Qualifications, European qualifications are recognised and it would be unlawful to require EEA doctors to undergo a further test of clinical skills.

"That said, there will need to be an assessment of whether individuals are able to demonstrate the competencies necessary for the role."

The decision comes after the case of German locum Dr Daniel Ubani, who killed 70-year-old David Gray with a painkiller overdose on his first and only shift in Britain in February 2008.

He was struck off the medical register by the General Medical Council (GMC) this summer. Speaking after the panel delivered its verdict, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said he was keen to strengthen checks for overseas doctors working in the UK.

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Sarah Head, who specialises in health and social care issues at medical law and patient’s rights specialists Irwin Mitchell, said, “This is really good news for patients. It can be hard enough talking about your condition with your doctor and so you want to be sure they can understand what you are saying, so they given you the correct treatment.

“I hope the Primary Care Trusts will continue to carry out these checks on foreign doctors until the NHS Commissioning Board takes on this important responsibility.”