IELTS 7.5 for doctors in UK

Doctors in the EU will have their English language skills evaluated before attending patients in the UK

The GMC (General Medical Council) has stated that as from June this year there will be new language assessments for European doctors. According to present legislation the GMC may evaluate doctors applying from overseas to work in the United Kingdom, however, this does not apply to other member countries of the EU.

The new legislation will mean that as from June 2014 doctors from European Union countries will have to supply acceptable evidence of proficiency in the English language or have their English language skills evaluated before they are permitted to attend patients.

An increase in the IELTS score required for doctors wishing to work in the United Kingdom was also announced. An overall band of 7.5 in IELTS (International English Language Testing System) will be required as opposed to a band score of 7.0 currently.

The GMC’s chief executive, Niall Dickinson explained that it was important from the point of patient safety that doctors coming to the UK to work are proficient enough in English to communicate effectively, and that the new requirement for doctors coming from the EU and the increase in the IELTS test score required (from IELTS 7.0 to IELTS 7.5) will both aid in strengthening safeguards for patients. In addition, the new measures being introduced will make the requirements for doctors from other European countries and doctors from non-European countries more similar.

The BMA (British Medical Association) has welcomed the proposed changes, emphasizing that all doctors, wherever they are from originally, working in the UK or in other EU countries must be able to communicate effectively to ensure the safety of patients.