Doctors with poor grasp of English unable to work in NHS, says DoH

Overseas doctors with a 'poor grasp' of English will no longer be able to work in the NHS, the health secretary has said.

Mr Dickson: 'Patients in the UK must have confidence that the doctor who treats them has the communication skills needed for the job'
Mr Dickson: 'Patients in the UK must have confidence that the doctor who treats them has the communication skills needed for the job'

In a long-awaited announcement, Andrew Lansley said the GMC will be given ‘explicit new powers’ to take action against doctors when there are concerns about their ability to speak English.

However, the GMC will not be able to systematically test the language skills of European doctors.

The GMC said the plans will plug a ‘glaring hole in its regulatory defences’ that means it is unable to test the language skills of European doctors, even in cases where doctors need the help of interpreters to register with the GMC

The DoH said it will also introduce new system for employers at a local level to vet all overseas doctors for their language skills.

This will see the role of responsible officers locally amended so they have a ‘mandatory duty’ to check the English language skills of all foreign doctors before they can be employed by the NHS.

Mr Lansley said the new changes will prevent all foreign doctors with a ‘poor grasp’ of the English language from working in the NHS.

He said: ‘There is considerable anxiety amongst the public about the ability of doctors to speak English properly. If you can’t speak adequate English, you can’t treat patients.’

GMC chief executive Niall Dickson said the plans are good news for patients as it will offer them more protection.

He said: ‘Patients in the UK must have confidence that the doctor who treats them has the communication skills needed for the job and that the GMC can take action when they do not have those skills.

‘Until today we had a glaring hole in our regulatory defences - the government has now signalled this will be closed so that doctors coming from the EU can communicate to the standard required of all other doctors on our register.’

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

First-dose COVID-19 vaccine supply for GP sites to stop completely for a fortnight

First-dose COVID-19 vaccine supply for GP sites to stop completely for a fortnight

Supplies of COVID-19 vaccine for first-dose vaccinations at GP-led vaccination sites...

UK COVID-19 vaccination programme tracker

UK COVID-19 vaccination programme tracker

GPs across the UK are playing a leading role in the largest-ever NHS vaccination...

More than 70% of COVID-19 jabs this month have been second doses

More than 70% of COVID-19 jabs this month have been second doses

More than seven in 10 COVID-19 jabs administered UK-wide since the start of April...

Accountant's theft of more than £60,000 from GP practices uncovered in pandemic

Accountant's theft of more than £60,000 from GP practices uncovered in pandemic

An accountant has been handed a suspended jail term after stealing more than £60,000...

GMC to contact thousands of GPs due to revalidate from August

GMC to contact thousands of GPs due to revalidate from August

The GMC is writing to thousands of doctors due to revalidate from August to set out...

NHS England spells out next steps as GPs told to cancel AZ jabs booked for under-30s

NHS England spells out next steps as GPs told to cancel AZ jabs booked for under-30s

GP-led vaccination sites should offer under-30s due to receive a first dose of AstraZeneca...