At the moment, foreign doctors have to pass two exams if they want to work in the UK. But there’s a problem. Research by University College London shows that foreign doctors have lower exam results compared to UK doctors. 1,300 doctors pass the test every year, but the research shows that 650 of them shouldn’t have qualified.
There are 95,000 foreign doctors working in the UK, and a lot of them are ‘extremely good’ at their job, but others struggle with language barriers. In 2012, 669 doctors were asked to stop working because they needed to be investigated. 420 of these were foreign doctors.
Some people say that all doctors, from abroad and from the UK, should be forced to do harder exams. But other people are worried that this could mean more people fail, meaning the NHS will not have enough doctors.
Language Exams for Foreign Doctors
Research also shows that a lot of foreign doctors do not have good English skills. In summer 2014, all doctors will have to do a tougher language test. It is called the International English Language Testing System test. At the moment, only doctors outside the EU are tested, which means 27,000 foreign doctors working in the UK have never done an English test.
Doctors need to score 7.5 out of 9 and if they fail the test, they may not be allowed to work.
The General Medical Council (GMC) will be allowed to force doctors from the European Union to take the test if patients experience poor communication. GMC chief executive Niall Dickson said foreign doctors need more training and support, and the NHS need to rely on them less.
What do you think about the tests? A lot of D/deaf people find lipreading foreign doctors hard, sometimes impossible. Do you think the tests will help your communication with your doctor?
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