25 / 6 / 2014 Midnight
Following the General Medical Council (GMC) consultation on language proficiency, the timetable of changes to English language requirements for doctors has now completed, and the new rules have been implemented.
In a recent press statement, the GMC's chief executive Niall Dickson said "This is an important milestone in creating better, safer care for patients. Everyone has a right to expect to be treated by doctors who can communicate effectively in English and this will help us achieve this".
The new rules give the GMC powers to direct any doctor (who has had concerns raised about their language skills) to undertake the English language assessment, and refuse licence to practise for those doctors who do not meet the new standards. The recent changes support the employer's views submitted in the consultation, and include:
- a new category to fitness impairment - 'not having the necessary knowledge of English'.
- the new minimum score of 7.5 for the International English Language Testing System test now applies (raised from 7.0).
- new rules and regulations, allowing the GMC to refuse a licence to practise for those who do not meet the minimum requirements.
In addition, as highlighted in their press statement - the GMC have updated many of their documents on rules and guidance:
- introducing a reference to English knowledge in core guidance Good medical practice
- increasing the minimum score accepted on a recognised academic English language test
- introducing English language assessments in investigations after receiving concerns about a doctor establishing a new ground of ‘impairment’ where there are issues with a doctor’s ability to speak, read, write or comprehend English.
Further information on English language assessments can also be found on the GMC website.