Tuesday, 6 March 2007

Or this

It's been revealed recently that English-speaking doctors from the Commonwealth, i.e. from Canada, Australia and India, for instance, have to pass a proficiency test before they're allowed to practise medicine in the UK, but doctors hailing from countries of the EU don’t, even if their English is appalling. As you can imagine, this could have terrible consequences.

It already has. A little while ago, a man probably died because of this mad policy: he collapsed in the surgery of a French GP, who, suspecting a heart attack, called for an ambulance straight away. Unfortunately, instead of saying the man was ‘unconscious’, he said he was ‘sleeping’, so, you know, the ambulance people didn’t think it was such an emergency and they took their time. And who can blame them?



  1. i heard about this on the radio

    how appalling, not to mention ridiculous (the not testing the english of EU doctors bit)

    it beggars belief...

  2. To think that, back in the late 70s, no one wanted to give me a job, even though I was as fluent in English as I am now! And, as a translator/editor, I wasn't going to kill anyone even if I misunderstood something, was I?

  3. Crazy. Just crazy.

    But I'm sure we have the same type problem here. If a doctor can pass the written tests, then he/she can practice medicine here. I've seen doctors here whom I could not understand. They may have been using the correct words, but they were pronouncing them in a way that I could not understand. How helpful is that?

    We have so many doctors and pharmacists from India. I'm not saying they aren't brilliant, but we have to be able to communicate with our health care providers.

    Good slap!

  4. Yes, L. Quite mad.

    TLP, at least, if you can't understand what an Indian medic is saying to you, you can perhaps ask them to write it down.

    It's a huge problem: balancing the need to protect patients against the need to allow people to work abroad. There must be a happy medium somewhere. A thorough test would be a start.


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