Registered doctors without a high level of English language risk being kicked off the General Medical Council (GMC) register, but the council is “confident” this will “drive up standards,” its chief executive said this week.
More than 770 doctors from Europe were turned away by the GMC after they could not provide evidence of their English language capabilities when they made their initial application, and registered doctors could also be struck off the register.
To fill the current shortage of doctors the Royal College of GPs (RCGP) estimates that the NHS will need at least 8,000 more doctors over the next five years.
Niall Dickson, chief executive of the GMC, said: “Doctors who are already registered and fail to meet the required standard could put their right to practise at risk.”
Doctors that take the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) language assessment are required to achieve an overall score of 7.5 out of 9. This score was increased last year from the overall pass score of 7, it was announced in June.
“Over time we are confident that this assessment will help to drive up standards and that it could become an international benchmark test for entry to medicine. Our aspiration is that this standard should apply to any doctor joining the medical register,” Dickson added.