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New powers over language skills come into force

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The recent change in law gives the General Medical Council (GMC) the power to ask European doctors for evidence of knowledge of English. If there are serious concerns raised then the GMC have the power to order them to take a language test.

Previously, only doctors outside of Europe could have their language skills tested by the GMC but the change in law extends this to allow doctors from Europe coming into Britain to be included.

The GMC hailed the change in law as an "important milestone", whilst Health Minister Dan Poulter said: "For the first time ever, we have a full system of checks in place to prevent doctors working in the NHS who do not have the necessary knowledge of English from treating patients. This is a huge step forward for patient safety. I am pleased to have played my part in making this happen."

By Francesca Snape, Graduate paralegal in the professional discipline team