One in Three Doctors in Britain Are Now Trained in a Foreign Country

Daily Mail (London), February 3, 2011

More than one in three doctors practising in Britain were not trained in the UK, according to the General Medical Council.

The latest figures found that 73,542 doctors, or 37 per cent, were trained in 147 different countries including Mongolia, Sudan and Haiti.

The List of Registered Medical Practitioners includes both GPs and specialists.

It comes as doctors leaders expressed concerns about foreign doctors who are allowed to work in the UK without checks because European laws forbid employers to test their skills if they were trained in the EU.

This applies to 22,000 foreign-born medics, according to the GMC.

Last year, the Nigerian-born German doctor Daniel Ubani was banned from working in the UK in 2010, after he gave a lethal overdose to a 70-year-old patient on his first shift working for a private out-of-hours firm.

David Gray had been suffering from renal colic when he was treated by Ubani at his home in Manea, Cambridgeshire, in 2008.

It emerged that Ubani was unfamiliar with the drug diamorphine and its administration.

Figures from 2009 reveal that 51 out of 83 doctors who were struck off that year had gained their qualifications outside Britain and 12 of these had qualified in Europe.

Conservative MP Dr Sarah Wollaston, who is on a Commons health select committee said there was a growing concern that these doctors, who may have poor English, are now able to work in Britain.

Some hospitals have even introduced language lessons to deal with the problem.

‘You can practise here from Australia and have to take a test but from Poland no language test may be applied under EU regulations,’ she told the Daily Express.

Niall Dickson, chief executive of the General Medical Council agreed. He said: ‘We are calling for urgent legal change so we can be sure that all doctors on the register have the necessary language skills to practise safely in the UK.’

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