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MPs’ call over overseas doctors

26 July 2011

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Ministers and medical regulators have been urged to get to grips with potential issues caused by healthcare professionals who come to work in Britain after qualifying elsewhere in Europe.

The call came from the Commons Health Committee, which said the UK and European law that underpins the General Medical Council (GMC) and the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) was ripe for reform.

The concerns over foreign doctors and nurses working in the UK without having their medical or language skills checked were raised in two separate “annual accountability hearing” reports.

Doctors from the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland wanting to work in Britain cannot routinely be language and competence tested by the GMC, according to the report on the regulator.

Committee chairman Stephen Dorrell (pictured) said: “The government will need to place a priority on doing this if it wants to see the performance of these regulators improve.”

A Department of Health spokesman said: “The government will respond formally to the Health Committee’s recommendations in due course.”

Responding to the committee’s report, GMC Chief Executive Niall Dickson said the regulator was consulting on a new version of its core guidance, Good Medical Practice.

Copyright © Press Association 2011