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NHS failing to test competence of EU doctors

29th March 2012

A survey has found little improvement in checks carried out on GPs working in the UK who were trained abroad.

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Three years after flaws in checks on GPs trained abroad were first revealed, a survey from the journal Pulse has suggested that NHS managers are failing to test EU doctors on their competence and ability to speak English, despite repeated government demands they do so.

Following a freedom of information request, Pulse found many primary care trusts (PCTs) in England cannot provide figures on whether such doctors have been tested.

The issue over standards of EU doctors came to light in May 2009 after German doctor Daniel Ubani had accidentally killed 70-year-old patient David Gray on his first UK out-of-hours shift in Cambridgeshire the previous year.

In October 2010, Pulse revealed that 23% of EU doctors in the NHS had had their competence checked and 17% tested for language skills.

Its latest survey, it found just 4%, of EU doctors untested in 2010 had undergone checks since then and 46 trusts could not provide data on whether doctors had been checked.

Chaand Nagpaul from the BMA’s GP committee said: “It is extremely worrying if PCTs are not implementing performance tests, on the back of the adverse events in recent years. It does worry me that in this massive reorganisation of the NHS, PCTs have struggled to carry out their statutory functions.”

Pulse editor Richard Hoey said: “It’s astonishing just how impervious primary care trusts have been to demands from ministers and the GMC to get their houses in order.”

 

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