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BMA call for ‘non-discriminatory’ checks on foreign GPs

By Gareth Iacobucci

The BMA has urged the Government to remove a legal clause that they say will allow language tests to be carried out on foreign doctors before they are permitted to work in the UK.

The call follows on-going controversy over the competency of EU doctors following the death of patient David Gray at the hands of German locum Dr Daniel Ubani.

The introduction of language tests for EU doctors has been hampered by European law which states that the GMC cannot carry out any assessment of the knowledge and skills of incoming European Economic Area (EEA) doctors who hold recognised qualifications.

But the BMA says it has uncovered a clause in the Medical Act 2003 which enshrines ‘a much stricter version of the EEA Act into UK law’, which, if removed or altered, would allow the GMC to carry out ‘non-discriminatory’ checks on foreign GPs.

GPC chair Dr Laurence Buckman said: ‘It turns out it’s a single clause that could be removed or altered. It would mean that the GMC could then test the competency and language skills of incoming doctors in a non-discriminatory fashion.’

‘The BMA will take this up with the Government. We think this is not good for patients.’

The BMA is urging the Government to carry out ‘non-discriminatory’ checks on foreign GPs The BMA is urging the Government to carry out ‘non-discriminatory’ checks on foreign GPs