On the Agenda - Call to vet 'foreign doctors' properly

In a nutshell MPs have urged NHS Trusts to make changes to the way foreign doctors who provide out-of-hours GP care are vetted. The Commons Health Select Committee warned that patients are at risk if doctors are incompetent or not fluent in English because they have not been properly checked. The committee said action was needed to ensure all doctors coming to work here have a grasp of English.

GPs: Call to vet foreign doctors
GPs: Call to vet foreign doctors

- What has been suggested?

The MPs said ministers should push for changes to EU rules to allow checks by the General Medical Council. The report said the Government should lobby Europe about changing the law, which is due to be reviewed in 2012. Committee chairman Kevin Barron said: 'It is tragic that it takes the death of a patient to expose the serious failings in the system for checking language and competence skills of overseas doctors.'

- What is the background?

The MPs looked into the issue after the death of a patient, David Gray, following treatment by German locum doctor Daniel Ubani two years ago. Ubani administered ten times the normal dose of diamorphine on his first NHS shift.

- PR strategy

Embargoed copies of the report were made available to the press last Wednesday for publication on Thursday.

- Media coverage

The Daily Mail covered the story with the headline: 'Doctors' deadly language barrier'. The Daily Express covered it with the headline: 'Foreign doctors "must pass an English exam" 'and the Daily Mirror ran a piece on its website with the heading: 'Foreign doctors face checks after death'.

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