Half of all foreign doctors in Britain do not have the necessary skills to work here but can practise because the competency exam is too easy, a major study finds.
The majority of the 88,000 foreign doctors in the health service would fail exams if they were held to the same standard as their British colleagues, according to the research.
The disclosure will add to concerns over the reliance of the NHS on foreign doctors. The language ability of some has been questioned in recent years. The research potentially shows more wide-ranging inadequacies. Around 1,300 foreign physicians are licensed each year by the General Medical Council after passing an exam which assesses clinical and language skills.
But the study, by University College London, found that around half would fail to reach the standards expected of British doctors. Its authors have called for the pass rate of the competency exam to be raised from 63 to 76 per cent to “ensure patient safety”.
Chris McManus, professor of psychology and medical education at UCL, said: “There is no real mechanism for checking that doctors coming from outside Britain have been trained to the same level as British doctors. We wanted to find out what level overseas doctors would have to reach if they were to be as competent as British graduates. I think it’s inevitable that the bar will need to be set higher.(Click link below to read more)
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