GMC to check doctors' English skills

 
A tired GP GPs are among those whose English language skills could be checked

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The General Medical Council is to be given new powers to check the English-language skills of all doctors working in the UK, under government proposals.

At present it can only make language checks on doctors from outside Europe.

The government is carrying out a 12-week consultation on the changes.

In April, the government created a national list of doctors who can treat NHS patients. GPs wishing to be included will have to demonstrate their ability to speak English.

It also appointed senior doctors who have a legal duty to ensure all doctors in their local area can speak the necessary level of English to perform their job in a safe and competent manner.

On Saturday, Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter said: "Overseas doctors make a hugely valuable contribution to the NHS, but it is clear that tougher checks are needed.

"We have already strengthened the way doctors' language skills are checked at a local level.

"These new powers are an important step in making the system even stronger by allowing the GMC to carry out checks on a national level before they start work in the UK and prevent doctors who do not have the necessary knowledge of English from treating patients."

Niall Dickson, chief executive of the General Medical Council, said: "We are delighted.

"This is an important move that will help protect patients and will be welcomed across the country."

 

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  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 166.

    You can already hear the howls of protest coming from the pro=immigration multicultural lefty brigade.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 165.

    It's not just English but as maths tutor, I'd say that the state of maths out there is dire. I think it is because the pupils that were taught formulae without proofs or verification are now teachers and perpetuating this abomination. A downwards spiral of black box mentality where a couple of clicks on a spreadsheet with a mysterious fuzzy formula constitutes meaningful statistical analysis.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 164.

    161. speed_of_dark I would think these checks include psychiatrists, they are after all medical doctors who have specialised in psychiatry.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 163.

    The GMC are providing a handy english phrasebook that should be out sometime next year'
    Have you got a credit card?
    The End.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 162.

    I am sure most people will be as surprised as I am that these powers don't already exist. How can you possibly do your job properly as a doctor (or for that matter as any other kind of healthcare professional having anything to do with patients) if you don't speak English?

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 161.

    I hope very much this will extend to psychiatrists too. When a person is already distressed trying to talk to a psych person who can't understand you and communicate with you properly can be devastating, especially when these people have the power to have you on nasty medications and even get you sectioned.

  • rate this
    -24

    Comment number 160.

    Most British doctors that work overseas can't speak the local language either they are there to provide medical assistance not conversation. Whilst it is beneficial for consultancy purposes who would refuse emergency medical treament because their doctor couldn't speak english.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 159.

    The ability to speak good English should be a prerequisite on working in this country, no matter where you come from. I can't see the French allowing anyone to work there who didn't have a good grasp of their language.

  • rate this
    +22

    Comment number 158.

    As a pharmacist of many years standing it is not only fluency in English whish needs to be ensured but also whether overseas doctors can speak without an unintelligible accent.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 157.

    While at one time all medics were held in high esteem, this is no longer the case. Just because someone is qualified does not mean that they are good at their job. As part of all recruitment, the authorities need to check the skills of the applicants including their technical and English language skills.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 156.

    Anyone who has any dealings with the public should have a good use of English,although admittedly,even more so in the medical profession as lives are at stake.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 155.

    The idea that any doctor from any non-English speaking country can come here and practice without demonstrating fluency in English is tragically ludicrous!

    I suppose regarding EU nationals, this is simply another example of EU nonsense and interference.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 154.

    Shouldn't this be done when they first interview them?

    Beggars belief.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 153.

    Where are the incredibly useful HSE when you need them.... curved windows anybody ?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 152.

    We are missing the point. The question is why is the NHS full of foreign doctors? Answer: Because the BMA who have a stranglehold on the NHS have negotiated the highest salaries in the world for doctors who are then working reduced hours. That is why most doctors have left Nigeria/India to work here....

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 151.

    The problem is not just understanding English. A foreign doctor, who has learned English as a second language, might understand well. But the process of verbal interaction with the patient remains "out of gear" and responses appear artificial leaving the patient wondering if the message has indeed been received and understood. The patient leaves feeling uneasy and worried.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 150.

    "Overseas doctors are valuable"

    From what I have seen they pretty much run it.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 149.

    140.Trytastic
    "Why would anybody emplo and Doctor in this country who can't speak and write perfect English"

    That would disqualify about 90% of the contributors to this discussion.

    Including you.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 148.

    I thought the BMA did the job the government is now replicating. Do we now need a whole new mechanism to make sure that a couple of examples of poor-English-speaking doctors don't slip through again? Why not just ask the BMA to beef up their act?

    The government is trying to look like it's doing something, just to keep the swivel-eyed loons happy and potential UKIP voters and The Daily Insult.

  • Comment number 147.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

 

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