EU reform on cross-border clinicians

AN alert system will be introduced across Europe requiring health regulators to warn each other within three days when a doctor or other health professional has been removed from a medical or dental register or had restrictions placed on his or her practice.

The system is part of a new agreement made by EU ministers that doctors, nurses and other health professionals moving among EU nations will have to meet new patient safety requirements. The EU legislation will also means that the GMC will be able to check language skills before a doctor is allowed to practise in the UK.

Member states have two years to introduce the changes.

Commenting on the decision, Niall Dickson, Chief Executive of the GMC, said: "This is a good day for patients. With our partners in Europe we have worked hard to bring about these changes which will close a serious gap in our regulatory defences.

"Alongside changes to current UK law in 2014, they will give us the ability to check the language skills of doctors coming to work here from Europe. The new alert system is also a big step forward. If we are to protect patients, free movement of professionals must be accompanied by free movement of information."

The GMC will work with the UK government in the coming months to take the changes forward.

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