Page last updated at 07:21 GMT, Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Lib Dems call for tests to root out poor EU doctors

A doctor
Almost 20,000 EU doctors are qualified to work in the UK

The Liberal Democrats have called for doctors from other European Union countries working in the UK to be subject to tougher restrictions.

The party has called for exams to root out those with poor language skills and inferior medical training.

It follows the case of an out-of-hours GP from Germany who accidentally gave a patient a fatal overdose.

The Department of Health said primary care trusts were already legally bound to provide safe, high quality care.

Fatal dose

Lib Dem health spokesman Norman Lamb said: "I believe patients lives are at risk because standards across Europe are not uniformly good and because doctors can come into this country and practise in the NHS without a test of competence and language."

Mr Lamb's party will also press in the Commons for a new criminal offence under which hospital managers could face prosecution if they fail to carry out such tests.

There are almost 20,000 doctors from the EU qualified to work in the UK.

But EU regulations designed to encourage the free movement of labour mean they are not subject to the same checks as those from outside.

In 2008, Dr Daniel Ubani accidentally gave 70-year-old Cambridgeshire patient David Gray 10 times too much painkiller and was given a nine-month suspended sentence in Germany for negligence.

An inquest into Mr Gray's death heard Dr Ubani was not selected by a primary care trust (PCT) after failing a language test.

Leeds PCT was not satisfied with Dr Ubani's application, but the head of the firm which supplied doctors to Take Care Now told the hearing she had understood him.

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Mail Online UK DAILY MAIL COMMENT: Scandal of Britain's stay-at-home GPs - 6 hrs ago
Times Online Lib Dems urge competency test for foreign medics - 10 hrs ago
Telegraph Liberal Democrats call for tighter rules on foreign doctors - 21 hrs ago

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