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Health: Foreign Doctors

Volume 687: debated on Thursday 30 November 2006

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether in the interests of patient safety doctors and nurses from other European Union member states are required to demonstrate their competence in the English language before working in the community or in hospitals in the United Kingdom. [HL214]

The department's code of practice for the international recruitment of healthcare professionals, which covers recruitment from inside and outside the European Economic Area, emphasises that,

“all international healthcare professionals will have the appropriate level of English language to enable them to undertake their role effectively.”

In addition, National Health Service employers’ guidance makes clear that,

“it is important to remember that all international healthcare professionals need to demonstrate their communication skills ... the employer should satisfy themselves of a candidate's ability to communicate to the required standard for the post”.

All applicants for foundation programmes or specialty registrar training opportunities will be required to demonstrate competence in the English language.