Navigation path

Left navigation

Additional tools

QUÉ PASA, DOCTOR? UK to be forced to employ doctors who cannot speak English

July 5th, 2005

Danger of EU docs who cannot speak English
Patients’ lives are at risk because many EU doctors cannot speak English properly, it was claimed yesterday. The doctors’ failure means they may interpret symptoms incorrectly. Under EU law they do not have to be tested in language skills. Now worried experts want a change in the law.
(Daily Mirror 5 July 2005)

Doctors’ poor English ‘risks lives’
Patients’ lives are being put at risk because thousands of doctors working in Britain have a poor command of English, experts warned yesterday. Medics from outside Europe are tested on their language skills before being accepted into the profession. But under an EU labour law ruling, doctors from Europe are exempt from the tests.  
(Daily Mail 5 July 2005)


EU law on language tests for doctors.
While there is legislation to protect European workers from discrimination on the basis of their nationality, it is up to local health authorities and the British government to set essential recruitment criteria, including language requirements, for NHS staff. As the General Medical Council states, “The authority that employs the doctor must be satisfied their written and spoken English is satisfactory.” If a doctor from another EU country meets these requirements, there is no reason why they should not be allowed to work in the UK.

Tags: ,

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in and you must ensure that your browser allows session cookies to post a comment.

EC in the UK

Check the EC Representation in the UK website

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.

Share buttons

Twitter feeds


We welcome your comments. They will be moderated. Please keep to the topic and use respectful language.