Commissioning Board to handle GP language testing

The DoH plans to make the NHS Commissioning Board responsible for checking the language skills of European doctors working in England once PCTs are abolished.

Currently, PCTs and other employers are expected to test the language skills of doctors from the European economic area before they are allowed onto a performers list.

But the government has announced that it is looking at how the Commissioning Board might 'strengthen the system of checking that doctors demonstrate language competency'.

Details of the Board's role remain to be confirmed as the DoH prepares a response to the consultation on the health White Paper. The GPC has said the board should hold GP contracts, despite calls for GP commissioning consortia to do so.

GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman said it would be 'a problem' for local GPs to hold their GP colleagues' contracts. 'There has to be some arrangement that enables contracts to be observed, but we think bringing it down to inter-personal level, where the risk of conflict of interest, confused roles or accusations of an inter-personal nature are things we would not want to see encouraged,' he said.

The NHS Confederation and the National Association of Primary Care want GP contracts to be held or overseen by GP consortia.

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