Tighter EU rules to bar “rogue” doctors and dentists working in the UK

NEW rules governing the free movement of health professionals within the European Union have come into effect, including a warning system to guard against "rogue" doctors and dentists practising in the UK.

Healthcare regulators across the EU will now have to warn all other member states when a health professional is banned or their practice restricted. The new rules are intended to prevent rogue professionals from "job shopping" around Europe.

The Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications (MRPQ) Directive also introduces stronger language controls and updated minimum training requirements for healthcare practitioners. The updated legislation, which governs the free movement of professionals around the EU, will make it easier for qualified healthcare professionals to practise in other member states, while ensuring they are competent to do so through appropriate checks and procedures.

The Department of Health is currently considering new UK law which will underpin these changes.

Elisabetta Zanon, Director of the NHS Confederation’s European Office, said: "More than any other country in the EU (with the tiny exception of Luxembourg) the UK relies on doctors, nurses and other health professionals trained elsewhere. We couldn’t run the NHS without them. So we welcome moves to cut red tape and encourage people to relocate.

"It’s vitally important that patients are protected from unsafe practitioners as people’s lives are in their hands. That’s why the NHS European Office fought hard for this legislation to include a warning system. It means that, in future, regulatory bodies across the EU will have to alert each other within three calendar days about any registrant who has been banned from practising, even temporarily, to prevent them ‘job shopping’ around Europe."