Foreign doctor checks don’t go far enough

TWO years on from the death of Manea man David Grey at the hands of a foreign doctor, and one of the region’s Euro-MPs has said that new recommendations from the General Medical Council (GMC) do not go far enough in their efforts to prevent a repeat of the tragic circumstances that led to his death.

The concern comes on the day that the GMC confirm that although they have devised an induction programme for foreign doctors, EU rules prevent them from checking that doctors from member states can actually speak English.

David Grey was killed when a doctor Daniel Ubani from Germany, confused over which drug he was using, accidentally administered a fatal overdose to Mr Grey.

Conservative Euro-MP David Campbell Bannerman, who has followed this case from the beginning, said: “It is encouraging that the report suggests an induction programme to teach doctors about the workings of the NHS and the expectations from UK patients, but surely the most important factor is understanding the language.

“How can a doctor know what is wrong with some one if they can’t understand what the patient is saying to them, or they cannot read the instructions and recommended dosage on a potentially dangerous drug?

“Although the government and the GMC say they are ‘working on’ trying to change the system so they can perform language checks, it has to be remembered that it is Britain’s NHS and we should be able to impose language checks immediately if we want to, not wait for the EU’s say so while millions of patients are put at risk.”

Mr Campbell Bannerman added: “It cannot be right that a doctor from and English speaking country such as Australia may have to go through more checks before being allowed to practice here than someone from a non-English speaking country within the EU.

“Under the current rules, the EU is leading to a dangerous dumbing down of an NHS that was once the envy of the world.”