Proposals Plan For GMC Language Checks On Doctors

Doctors will have their language skills tested before they are allowed to treat patients, Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter has revealed.

The minister has unveiled detailed proposals on how these checks would occur, which could reduce the likelihood of the public making clinical negligence claims by ensuring doctors from overseas do not make communication errors.

A survey from 2011 that analysed just over 50% of all UK senior doctors found that in 2011, there were 66 cases in which senior doctors handled concerns about the linguistic skills of a local doctor.

General Medical Council (GMC) Chief Executive Niall Dickson said the GMC is “delighted” that the government is consulting on this move. He said the initiative will be “welcomed across the country”, calling it an “important move”.

The proposals will enable the GMC to assess the language skills of overseas doctors when it is worried about their abilities. The organisation will also be able to assess a doctor if concerns about their language skills are uncovered during fitness-to-practice investigations, even if the practitioner has been working in the UK for years.

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