Skip to comments.Foreign doctors should face tougher exams, study says
Posted on 04/19/2014 8:06:20 PM PDT by steve86
Tests taken by foreign doctors who want to work in the NHS should be made harder to pass to bring them in line with UK standards, a study has said.
Research by University College London found a "performance gap" between international and UK medical graduates.
It said pass marks for entry exams sat by international doctors should therefore be set "considerably higher".
But the British International Doctors Association disputed the findings and called for a standardised test for all.
The research, commissioned by the General Medical Council (GMC), said 1,300 foreign doctors a year passed the competency exams, which assess clinical and language skills.
But it warned their subsequent performance indicated that half of them should not have qualified.
It suggested raising the pass mark from 63 to 76%.
Chris McManus, professor of psychology and medical education at UCL, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme this was the easy solution for the short term.
"In the longer term, I think there probably has to be a national qualifying exam which would be sat by everybody. But that's actually surprisingly hard to put in place," he said.
Prof McManus added: "The evidence is that some of those at the bottom end of the distribution are not performing as well.
"I have to emphasise, many of those at the top end are extremely good and the NHS depends on them. They're experts. They're specialists and so on." 'Tremendous contribution'
Figures showed that in the five years to 2012, 669 doctors were struck off or suspended - 420 of those had trained abroad.
Umesh Prabhu, national vice-chairman of the British International Doctors Association (BIDA), said he would only support raising pass marks if there was proof all doctors were tested to the same standard.
"Overseas doctors have contributed tremendously to the National Health Service," Dr Prabhu told the BBC.
"But it's important that we protect patients."
Dr Chandra Kanneganti from BIDA told the BBC News Channel the higher numbers of referrals of foreign doctors to the GMC could be a result of various issues, including communication differences and even racism.
The association also warned that making the tests more difficult could lead to a shortage of doctors. Language checks
More than 95,000 foreign-trained doctors work in the UK, making up a quarter of the total number.
The GMC called for the UCL study after it set up a working party to review whether the competency exam needed to be updated.
Tougher language checks for European doctors are due to come into force this summer.
GMC chief executive Niall Dickson told the BBC that some foreign doctors themselves would admit to finding it difficult to adjust to working in the UK.
Mr Dickson said more needed to be done to help foreign doctors coming into the UK, and to recognise the difficulties they face with different social and cultural attitudes.
"Doctors are a bit like flowers. We don't just take them up from one garden and plonk them down in another and expect them to thrive," he said.
"They need to be supported and helped, and I don't think as a country, and I don't think that the NHS or indeed we have done enough to support them when they are coming into this country."
Mr Dickson also praised foreign doctors who do a "fantastic service" to the NHS.
But he added that there needed to be a focus on training more doctors in the UK and less of a reliance on those from overseas.
My family has been lucky here in the US to have not had any issues with foreign-trained doctors. In fact, some have been very good.
Warning over foreign doctor training
18 April 2014 Last updated at 06:59 BST
There are calls for stricter assessments of foreign-trained doctors before they practise in the UK.
The pass mark for their competency exam should be raised, according to a study commissioned by the General Medical Council.
Jon Brain reports (Short BBC VIDEO)
The USA has high standards. It is that simple.
My kid just took the MCAT exam. It is required to get admission in a US medical school. It was quite tough and comprehensive exam. So I am confident doctors trained in US must be quit competent.
Did y’all hear about the doctor in UK who was operating on a woman with diagnosed appendicitis and removed her ovary instead? Of course the infected appendix brought her back to hospital in 2 days with severe pain, and she died in the hospital during or after another surgery. That doctor had a Muslim name and was a foreign doctor.
Foreign doctors in the US should be required to brush up on their english speaking skills.
63% is a passing grade to be considered competent to be licensed as a physician in Britain?? I’m going to have to make sure I don’t get sick when I’m in England. Or if I do to take a quick hop to Germany for treatment.
Agreed 100%. Foreign doctors should not even get a license to practice medicine without English proficiency. That is what they do in other countries, for example New Zealand. You can not even get a visa to live in NZ without passing THEIR English proficiency exam.
I had my first child in the UK. You would think differently had you seen my experience. I was a barnyard animal.
I was a student in the 80’s. We protested against profs who could barely speak English at my uni.
BTW, I like your homepage.
I’d be a lot more worried about affirmative action doctors.
..... It suggested raising the pass mark from 63 to 76%.....
What could go wrong?
I have worked for the VA for 25+ years. We have many foreign trained Docs. Some of them are great and some are not worth a damn. However, the majority of our Docs are trained here in the USA. Some of them are great and some are not worth a damn.
If you have the skills to pass the very rigorous exams you have the skills to be a good physician. The difference between passing the test and being a good physician is your attitude and commitment to your patients and profession.
One physician on our staff is Vietnamese. I work the night shift and often get calls from him in the middle of the night concerning his patients and drug therapy. If I were a patient I would want no one else than him to be my physician.
He puts in many many hours reviewing his patients therapy to determine the best care for them. When I get a call from him at midnight it means he has given the VA 6 hours of free labor. His command of the English language is acceptable to be a physician. His dedication and skill can not be measured. He is a damn good doctor.
If you can pass the test what makes you a good doctor, a great doctor or a bad doctor is your concept of your duty to the patient and profession.
How do philippines and india rate
It's not the ethnicity of the doctor...it's where he/she trained.A Vietnamese person who attended Johns Hopkins...or,at least,did his/her post graduate training there...is likely to be outstanding.A white person who went to one of those diploma mills in the Caribbean? Not so much.
an engineer I used to work with, ex-ARVN, spent time being re-educated by Uncle Ho before arriving here from a camp.
I can only imagine what hell that was.
In my book,not good.
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