Call to assess EU doctors on 'experience of Britain'

The GPC is calling for EU doctors to be assessed on their 'experience of Britain' when applying to work in the UK.

Dr Buckman: EU doctors must understand how the NHS works
Dr Buckman: EU doctors must understand how the NHS works

GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman said doctors must be able to understand the subtleties of British culture and the way the NHS works, as well as have proven English skills.

This is crucial for GPs as some EU countries do not have an equivalent role, he said.

The BMA is working with other European medical unions to change EU regulations that allow the free flow of doctors between countries despite non-equivalent qualifications and language difficulties.

It is also lobbying for changes to the Medical Act 1983 so that the GMC can assess EU GPs' language skills.

PCTs faced criticism after the death of a patient treated by Dr Daniel Ubani, who was able to practise around the UK despite concerns about his English.

The GMC, not PCTs, should be responsible for vetting all doctors hoping to work in the UK, said Dr Buckman.

GMC chief executive Niall Dickson has also called for changes to the Medical Act 1983, and the RCGP is working with deaneries to develop a three-month ‘induction' for foreign doctors.

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