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Plans to introduce language checks for dentist

A Department of Health (DH) announcement, at the start of September, set out plans to introduce language checks for doctors. This came following a four-year battle.


A spokeswoman said it was expected to take a little longer to clarify European laws on freedom of movement in relation to nurses, midwifes, dentists and other health workers.


But she said: ‘We have focused, at this stage, on arrangements for doctors because this is where we believe risks are the most acute.


‘However, we are committed to ensuring all healthcare professionals coming to work in the UK can speak English well enough to communicate with patients effectively.


‘We are working hard to clarify the law at EU level, so that other healthcare regulators can apply language checks to all healthcare professionals who wish to work in the UK.
‘We are committed to doing this and we hope to have final agreement on the revised EU directive by the autumn.’


Under these new rules – likely to be replicated for dentists – European doctors will still join the UK professional register automatically.


However, the regulator will then have the power to impose language tests and check the English of all doctors already working in Britain, whose language shortcomings have since emerged.


A formal DH consultation was launched on 7 September, with the changes expected to take effect next year.
 


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