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New NHS board to test foreign doctors

29 October 2010

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Responsibility for testing the clinical skills and language proficiency of foreign doctors from the EU will now be undertaken by a new NHS Commissioning Board, the Department of Health has announced.

The move is in response to the case of German locum Dr Daniel Ubani, who on his first and only shift in the UK killed 70-year-old David Gray with a painkiller overdose in February 2008.

Dr Ubani was struck off the medical register by the General Medical Council (GMC) this summer.

After the verdict was announced, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said that he wanted checks on foreign doctors working in the UK to be strengthened.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Health said: “The government has announced that it will look at how the NHS Commissioning Board might help strengthen the system of checking that doctors demonstrate language competency.

“Under the Directive on Professional Qualifications, European qualifications are recognised and it would be unlawful to require EEA doctors to undergo a further test of clinical skills.

“That said, there will need to be an assessment of whether individuals are able to demonstrate the competencies necessary for the role.”

PCTs will continue to have responsibility for the checks until the board is established.

Department of Health