25 Feb 2013

English language now essential for foreign drs in England

6:09 am on 25 February 2013

The British government has confirmed that foreign doctors wanting to treat NHS patients in England will have to prove they have the necessary English skills.

From April, there will be a legal duty to ensure a doctor's English is up to scratch before they are employed.

The Department of Health said foreign doctors will have to prove they can speak a "necessary level of English" before they are allowed to treat patients in hospitals or in GP surgeries.

A BBC health reporter said concerns were raised after a German doctor gave a patient a fatal overdose on his first shift. Dr Daniel Ubani had previously been rejected for work because of poor English skills.

"If doctors cannot speak English to a safe standard then the GMC must be able to protect patients by preventing them from practising in the UK,'' said General Medical Council chief executive Niall Dickson.