Healthcare: On the Agenda - PCTs fail to test most Euro GPs

In a nutshell

A study by medical magazine Pulse has revealed that up to 80 per cent of EU doctors registered to work in the UK have not had language skills or clinical knowledge tests.

Why is this important?

Last February, a coroner ruled that German physician Dr Daniel Ubani had unlawfully killed David Gray by giving him ten times the normal dose of diamorphine on his first-out-of-hours shift in Britain in 2008.

His poor English had previously led to him being refused work in the NHS in West Yorkshire, but he had later been approved for work in Cornwall and then Cambridgeshire, where Gray lived.

Who was surveyed?

The information was gained following a Freedom of Information Act request involving NHS primary care trusts. Of 152 PCTs in England, 108 responded to questions regarding the FOI request. Of the 35 that gave information about language checks, just 23 per cent of non-UK EU doctors on 'performers' lists had been tested for their skills. Of 20 PCTs that provided data on clinical competence, only 17 per cent of doctors trained on the continent had taken competency tests.

PR strategy

The story release was handled by Pulse editor Richard Hoey, who distributed it across the national media.

Media coverage

The story was picked up by more than 20 news sources including The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, the London Evening Standard and Yorkshire Post, as well as the English version of French newspaper LaTribune's website.

- 23% of non-UK EU doctors were tested for language skills

- 17% of non-UK EU doctors were tested for clinical skills.

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