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EU doctors need tougher tests to protect patient safety

Regulatory health bodies across Europe should be allowed to test the language skills and competencies of European doctors to protect patient safety, a ...

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|Oct 19|magazine6 min read

Regulatory health bodies across Europe should be allowed to test the language skills and competencies of European doctors to protect patient safety, a House of Lords committee is saying.

They believe current laws that allow doctors to practice anywhere in the EU subject patients to an “unacceptable risk” because competency checks are not thorough enough.

In a scathing report, peers have also claimed pharmacists at the high-street chain of chemists, Boots, receive more training than European doctors working for the NHS in the UK.

However, the committee warned that even if changes were made to the laws in the near future, they might not take affect for another six years.

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“It is absolutely unacceptable that current EU rules put patients in the UK and elsewhere at risk,” said Baroness Young of Hornsey, the chair of the House of Lords Social Policies and Consumer Protection EU Sub-Committee.

“From regulating bodies being forced to accredit candidates who may not meet UK standards to the fact that there is no way for prospective employers to check an applicant's disciplinary history thoroughly, the EU is failing our patients.

She added: “We recognise that mobility within the EU can bring significant benefits, but we have to make sure that this is not at the expense of patients' health, care and confidence.

“Employing doctors, nurses, midwives, pharmacists and dentists from outside the UK can help to provide patients with the best possible treatment but may also expose them to unacceptable risks.”

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