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English tests for EU migrant doctors

18 June 2013

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Updated rules will mean European clinicians hoping to work in the UK will be subject to language checks. 

A provisional agreement between the European Parliament, the EU member states and the European Commission will also introduce an ‘alert system’ to warn each other if a clinician has been convicted of a crime. 

If the European Parliament formally approves the suggestions later this year, bodies such as the General Medical Council (GMC) will be responsible for language checks. 

EU countries would have to warn each other within three days if a doctor, nurse of other healthcare professional has been convicted for a crime or subjected to disciplinary actions. 

And doctors’ training in the UK will remain five years long instead of increasing it to six. 

Elisabetta Zanon, director of the NHS European Office, said: “We have worked hard to ensure that patients are safeguarded, and are pleased that this provisional deal has taken account of many of the concerns we raised.

“We need health professionals to be able to move around Europe freely and use their expertise in other countries, but patient safety must be our first priority. 

Zanon added that NHS organisations must be confident that European staff who come to work in the UK have been properly checked and that their qualifications, experience and other credentials are up to date and meet minimum standards.