The Department of Health has launched a consultation seeking views on changes to allow professional regulatory bodies to impose language controls on nursing, dental and pharmacy professionals.
The 4 UK Health Departments (England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland) want to amend legislation to protect patients from risk associated with the poor English language skills of a minority of health care professionals.
The law currently allows language checks on overseas non-European applicants and on doctors from the European economic area.
Proposed changes will allow the Nursing and Midwifery Council, General Dental Council, General Pharmaceutical Council and Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland to put in place systems for carrying out proportionate language controls on European applicants and for taking fitness to practise action where there are concerns about the English language skills of professionals who are already in practice. The changes will apply to nurses, midwives, dentists, dental care professionals, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians.
The consultation closes on 15 December 2014.
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