You\’ve already signed away the power to do that, numpties

Medical watchdogs must be able to ensure that GPs can speak good English, MPs have warned

Yes, how lovely. From the same article:

He was banned from practising in this country by the GMC last year but European Union legislation, enshrined in British law, means that foreign doctors cannot be tested on their clinical skills and language abilities.

It\’s simply not possible for you to insist on such a thing. You\’ve already signed away the power to do this to the EU.

Part of the single market for labour is that there is mutual recognition of professional qualifications. Mutual recognition means you cannot add further tests to those who have such qualifications.

That this means that some might die from incompetents, or from those incapable of speaking the relevant language, well, so what? You\’ve already signed away, and you\’re not going to get back, the powers to prevent this.

Huff and puff all you like but that\’s what the situation is.

7 thoughts on “You\’ve already signed away the power to do that, numpties”

  1. Sorry Tim, I don’t believe you. “EU legislation” is simply an excuse for the UK parliament not doing its job properly. If it is “… enshrined in British law”, why can parliament not amend or replace that law? The UK is the second largest net contributor of funds to the EU and a nuclear power – what are the possible consequences of us unilaterally changing the application of EU legislation within the UK?

  2. “Part of the single market for labour is that there is mutual recognition of professional qualifications. Mutual recognition means you cannot add further tests to those who have such qualifications.”

    The European Commission take a different view.

    What it looks like to me is that the ‘competent authority’ and the UK Government want a rigid and systematic language test (to absolve them of having to take responsibility for this matter?) which the EC doesn’t allow. But they do already have the authority (and surely an innate responsibility to patients) to assess individual applicants on their language skills where appropriate.

    They are being encouraged to exercise discretion but seemingly don’t want to or aren’t capable.

  3. What Gareth said. As I commented here a while ago, the relevant EU directives make it quite plain that employers are allowed to take language skills into account under the mutual recognition of professional qualifications; the European Court says that any tests must be relevant to the job being filled. The problem the UK has is that local health authorities are too scared/lazy/incompetent to identify which jobs require good or colloquial or basic English language skills and test accordingly. What is not allowed is for e.g. the GMC to take a blanket ‘no non English speakers need apply’ approach.

  4. Something’s not right here. Other EU countries are perfectly allowed to test for their doctors’ language skills, so it definitely is not a EU law. Someone in the UK may be saying that it is, but that is just another lie. Why they say that, I don’t know.

    Where I live, Finland, we also have the problem that some doctors in the public health system (doctors often from Russia or other former Eastern block countries) do not speak too good Finnish. But this is not because we’re not allowed to test; it’s because the employment market does not work so well. Finnish doctors – who generally speak quite good English, at least professionally – sometimes emigrate to Britain or other countries (for better salaries or the lovely British climate), and others choose to work for the industry or private sector rather than the public system. Thus, some of the public system vacancies are filled in by immigrant doctors. I sometimes have to struggle with them, and in a couple of cases switching to English helped (which is of course deplorable).

  5. SBML, no it fucking isn’t, as the comments above imply.

    It’s completely permissible to make doctors take a comprehensive English test. It’s not permissible to make orderlies take a comprehensive English test, if all they actually need to understand is “take that bloke in Ward A Bed C and put him in Ward Q Bed D”, or “clean up that pile of puke”.

    This is easy. The fact that some people who employ GPs are too fucking stupid to grasp it is a depressing indictment of the stupidity of some public sector managers, but that is all.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *