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Foreign doctors and nurses putting NHS patients without PMI in danger

Published on 19/10/2011

A House of Lords committee has warned that patients without private medical insurance are being put at ‘unacceptable risk’ by continental doctors and nurses, who are working in the UK without any formal NHS training.

Last night, peers declared that regulatory bodies should be allowed to test the language skills of all doctors, nurses, midwives, dentists and pharmacists who want to work in the UK.

Currently, the NHS is being forced to accredit EU medical staff even if their training is years out of date or below the acceptable UK standards, in order to comply with EU freedom of movement requirements. Some countries are even refusing to tell the General Medical Council when doctors have been struck off, by citing the EU data protection directives.

Consequently, EU nurses are cleared to work in the UK even if they have not been on a ward for decades, foreign midwives are practising with no idea how to monitor a foetus, and general practitioners are working in a role different to that in their native country.

This comes after we reported that NHS nurses who can’t speak English put patients without private health insurance in danger. The latest report by the General Medical Council said that even if medics pass a written English test, they may still not understand colloquialisms or be able to comfort an upset patient.

In fact, the NHS provides less training for European medical staff than Boots the Chemist does for pharmacists.

The peers have suggested that an alert system be set up to ensure that information about disciplinary procedures is shared between regulators from different countries, and regulators are given the power to vet language skills. Peers also backed the idea of a compulsory ‘induction period’ for all new recruits.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said: "It's completely unacceptable for doctors to work in the NHS if they can't speak English properly."

Patients with private health insurance will avoid the cuts being made in the NHS, and will be treated in a private hospital of their choice, with a consultant of their choice. Compare private health insurance policies now to gain peace of mind about your future treatment.

© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2011

Categories:  NHS and Hospitals
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