Published on 28/06/2010
Foreign doctors with a poor grasp of English are placing patients at risk by practicing in the UK's NHS hospitals, it has been warned.
According to the British Medical Association (BMA), tougher language tests should be in place before doctors from overseas are allowed to practice in the UK.
Dr Hamish Meldrum, chairman of the BMA Council, made the recommendation at the association's annual meeting of representatives following the tragic news of the death of pensioner David Gray.
Mr Gray was given more than ten times the recommended level of a drug by German locum doctor Daniel Obani, on his first shift providing out-of-hours cover for GPs.
"It cannot be acceptable for poorly trained, badly regulated doctors whose knowledge of English is about as good as my knowledge of Chinese, to be able to practise, virtually unchallenged, in the UK," said Dr Meldrum.
"We seem to be able to do little or nothing to check that doctors from overseas - especially from Europe - meet the proper standards of language and competence."
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