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Wednesday 23rd May 2018

Vetting of foreign doctors needs to improve

8th April 2010

MPs have warned that urgent changes need making to the system of vetting foreign doctors offering out-of-hours GP care in the UK.


NHS Trusts have been accused of failing to check language and medical skills, meaning patients are being treated by doctors who were incompetent or not fluent in English, according to the Health Committee.

While the government maintained improvements were being made, the committee of MPs said they feared lives were being put at risk.

MPs want an EU rule change that will allow checks by the General Medical Council, which it is unable to do at present because of European regulations on free movement of labour.

Trusts can carry out their own checks, but MPs say this does not always happen.

The issue of foreign doctors was raised by MPs following the death of a patient in Cambridgeshire who was killed by German doctor Daniel Ubani who administered 10 times the normal dose of diamorphine on his first NHS shift.

Committee chairman Kevin Barron said: "Everything must be done as soon as possible to ensure another life is not lost in this way."

Royal College of GPs chairman Professor Steve Field has also been involved in a separate review of the out-of-hours service.

He said: "Ministers have accepted all of our recommendations, and gone further, but there needs to be an urgent review of the European legislation to make sure doctors are assessed at a national level as well as locally."

The Department of Health said NHS trusts had been reminded of their obligation to assess doctors.


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