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The new NHS Commissioning Board will be responsible for assessing the language and clinical skills of foreign doctors from within the EU, according to the Department of Health.
A spokeswoman explained: “The Government has announced that it will look at how the NHS Commissioning Board might help strengthen the system of checking that doctors demonstrate language competency.
“Under the Directive on Professional Qualifications, European qualifications are recognised and it would be unlawful to require EEA doctors to undergo a further test of clinical skills.
“That said, there will need to be an assessment of whether individuals are able to demonstrate the competencies necessary for the role.”
The move comes in the wake of the case of German locum Dr Daniel Ubani, who killed 70-year-old David Gray with a painkiller overdose on his first and only shift in Britain in February 2008.
He was struck off the medical register by the General Medical Council (GMC) this summer. Speaking after the panel delivered its verdict, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said he was keen to strengthen checks for overseas doctors working in the UK.
Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) will continue to have responsibility for the checks until the board is established.
Copyright Press Association 2010