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The fatal cost of foreign doctors

12th October 2009

Writing in The Telegraph, Alasdair Palmer says the government has failed to act over foreign doctors.

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The recent Care Quality Commission report on the provision of out of hours care was triggered when German doctor Daniel Ubani administered a fatal dose of diamorphine to a 70-year-old man in February 2008.

Yet Gordon Brown had previously raised concerns, about a similar case in May 2007.

What happened then was nothing and since then, the government has continued to do what it specialises in: nothing.

When the government allowed doctors to opt out of proving out of hours care, health trusts tried to fill the gap by hiring foreign doctors.

Dr Ubani had a less than perfect grasp of English medical practice but was allowed to practise in the UK because of an EU directive.

This directive means the General Medical Council (GMC) is not permitted to examine doctors who have gained their qualifications elsewhere in Europe, in order to establish whether they can safely treat patients here.

Dr Ubani was in fact rejected twice by health trusts but approved by Cornwall, thus allowing him to practice anywhere in the UK.

One of Mr Gray's sons, who is a GP, suggests the GMC be allowed to establish the competence of any doctor who wants to work in the UK, but the government has opposed a proposal along those lines.

Yes, another report has been commissioned but nothing will happen.

When Gordon Brown, or any other minister, says we should do better there will be reports, committees and announcements but no action to address the problem.

 

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