The General Medical Council (GMC) has reacted to the continuing unease about foreign doctors working in the UK by insisting that they undertake a basic training test before starting work for the NHS.
The GMC will run induction courses for those coming to the country from overseas as well as graduates from British medical schools after it claimed that many doctors came over with little or no preparation and with no support to help them adjust to the demands of the job.
The GMC has taken the action in the face of growing criticism to the use of foreign doctors which has continued since 2008 when Dr Daniel Ubani, on his first shift in the UK, and who could speak only limited English, gave a fatal dose of a painkiller to a pensioner. The concern is greater over doctors coming into the country from Europe as EU freedom of movement legislation stops the GMC testing them on their competence or even their language skills.
A new report on medical education and practice within the UK, published by the GMC, states that a third of doctors working in the UK qualified overseas and says that while the organisation still cannot test them for their language ability, they will have to complete an induction programme, which will cover issues such as their bedside manner, confidentiality and the importance of explaining medical diagnoses to patients.
GMC chief executive Niall Dickson, whilst saying there was a lack of support and training for doctors coming to the UK from overseas, admitted that there was real concern over being unable to test incoming doctors for their English language skills.