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EU law does NOT mean UK hospitals have to employ people who do not speak English

April 5th, 2012

Contrary to Paul Naish’s article in the Mail on 31 March, there is nothing in EU law that prevents the UK from checking the language skills of doctors and nurses from elsewhere in the EU. There is no “new Brussels Directive against language checks”. Instead, proposed revisions to EU rules will make even clearer that all EU-qualified health professionals can be subject to checks before they take up a post. Far from EU law “taking precedence” over the Health Secretary Andrew Lansley’s plans to reinforce such checks, the European Commission has welcomed those plans.

Mark English, Head of Media
European Commission Representation in the UK

This letter was published, slightly edited, in the Daily Mail on 5 April (p.83). The newspaper did not contact the European Commission before publication. Commissioner Michel Barnier had already exploded this Euromyth in January.

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3 Responses to “EU law does NOT mean UK hospitals have to employ people who do not speak English”

  1. bertiefox says:

    What is the truth about the Daily Mail article today stating that the EU flag must be compulsorily flown at Whitehall and failure to do so will lead to ‘fines’.   Eric Pickles is reportedly getting his knickers in a twist over this.–fined-fail-comply.html I’d love to know the actual facts.

    • uk.admin says:

      The actual facts are in the comments correctly attributed to an EC spokesperson in the article. These of course contradict the headline and the entire premise of the article, that Brussels is “ordering” the UK to do something. There is a proposal for all Member States to discuss, not an order. Neither is there any talk of fines. Most Member States will no doubt put their point of view in forthcoming Council meetings rather than through the press.

  2. alpujarran says:

    This story just won’t go away. The Dept Of Health,  Media Centre says:
    “Doctors from outside of the EU are already subject to language checks, but current EU law requires the UK to automatically recognise the medical qualifications of doctors from countries in the European Economic Area – and to register them to work in theUK.
    The Government is also working hard to negotiate the revision of the EU law so that tougher mandatory checks can be applied to all European doctors when they apply to work in the UK.  The Government hopes to have an agreement on a revised directive this Autumn.”

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Please note that all statements in all entries were correct on the date of publication given. However, older archived posts are not systematically updated in the light of later developments, for example changes to EU law.

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