Personal Injury, Serious Injury & Clinical Negligence

Foreign Doctors Failing Patients

Doctors trained abroad to be subject to more rigorous assessments

The Sunday Telegraph recently discovered shocking statistics regarding the poor standard of care being provided by some foreign doctors in the UK. The figures were obtained from the GMC (General Medical Council), the regulatory and disciplinary body for all doctors practising in the UK.

In the last five years, a staggering 669 doctors were either struck off or suspended by the GMC, 420 of which were trained abroad. This represents 63% of all disciplinary cases which came before the GMC.

In the light of these worrying figures, the GMC are now implementing a series of reforms including an induction programme, better checks and a review of the present testing system for foreign doctors.

The induction programme will consist of online training in British medical practices and a one-day course covering key issues within the health service.

There will also be a review of the Performance & Linguistic Assessments Board test for doctors trained overseas, as many concerns relate to communication problems. Whilst doctors applying to work in the UK must take rigorous language tests, there are plans to extend this to ensure doctors are fluent in English.

Finally, the GMC have also implemented a new system of checks (known as “revalidation”), which requires doctors to show they are keeping up-to-date and are fit to practise, based on their annual appraisal and feedback from colleagues and patients.

It is hoped that these new measures will go some way to improving care for patients. As the UK is still struggling to recruit doctors who are British nationals, a balance will need to be struck between adequate regulation and overly stringent specifications which might deter overseas doctors from practising here.

If you have concerns regarding care received from any medical professional, please contact a member of our specialist medical negligence team who will be pleased to provide further advice and assistance.