GMC to test GPs' language skills

It is 'highly likely' that the GMC will be handed powers to test the English language ability of doctors from the European Economic Area (EEA) wanting to work in the UK, the GMC has said.

Professor Peter Rubin, chairman of the GMC, said it is now clear that it is UK legislation, not European legislation, that needs to change to allow the GMC to take responsibility for language testing. 'Over the past three or four months we have taken a clear and public stand on language testing,' he said.

Legal advice taken by the GMC had revealed that 'it is a consequence of UK legislation, not the European legislation that we are currently unable to test the language skills of EEA medical graduates'.

He therefore said it is 'highly likely' that the GMC will be able to test the language skills in the future.

Professor Rubin also said the GMC was 'very pleased' that language testing of EEA doctors had been included in the new coalition government's programme.

'There will need to be a legislation change, but our understanding is that the new government places a high priority on this.'

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