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Why we carry out additional checks on overseas doctors

Dr Jennifer Anderson has two complaints about the work of the JCPTGP (Letters, September 22).

The committee asks doctors with many years' experience of overseas general practice to do more training for a number of reasons.

First, the regulations require us to be satisfied that applicants have knowledge and skills equivalent to those acquired during the UK's own prescribed GP programme.

General practice is shaped by its cultural and organisational context and there are an increasing number of features that are unique in the UK.

Second, a period of training allows doctors to be assimilated more thoroughly and quickly into the profession and leads to greater job satisfaction and retention. Most importantly, on patient safety grounds we believe an incoming doctor's competence should always be assessed in situ, albeit for a very brief period.

Dr Anderson also states that it took the committee six months to come to its decision. This is not correct.

The committee considered this application three weeks after the completed set of application papers were received from Dr Anderson and within five working days of receipt of the last of the eight references.

Katie Carter

Registrar

Joint Committee on Postgraduate Training for General Practice

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