Share European data on fitness to practise

The GMC and UK health regulators have called on the European Commission to impose a legal duty on all European health regulators to share disciplinary and registration information about doctors and other healthcare professionals and to act upon it.

The Alliance of UK Health Regulators on Europe (AURE) has challenged European regulators to be more transparent and proactive.

AURE also called for all EU health regulators to allow the public to check doctors' registration via the internet.

Last year 3,076 doctors from Europe registered to work in the UK, nearly double the 2003 influx of 1,770.

GMC president Professor Sir Graeme Catto told the Commission last week that a minority of healthcare professionals may ‘exploit free movement rights putting patients at risk'. 

The UK and the Republic of Ireland are currently the only countries to share information consistently.

‘Passing on information is one-way traffic,' said Richard Marchant, head of regulatory development at the GMC.

‘We have routinely notified others for 10 years and now notify 65 regulators in 34 countries. But the proactive information that we get back is quite poor.

‘We regard a criminal conviction as a serious matter but in other countries it may only be considered relevant if it's in connection with professional practice. There are also more subtle distinctions, such as attitudes towards sexual behaviour that may reflect cultural differences.'

Some EEA regulators cannot exchange information on doctors because of ‘rigid national interpretations of data protection legislation', AURE says.

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