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New Language Checks For Doctors In UK

dateline: 26 February 2013

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

  • practise: to work or perform regularly in a certain field
  • treat: to provide medical aid
  • subject to: conditional upon meeting certain requirements
  • GP: general practitioner, doctor
  • fatal: causing death
  • overdose: an amount of a substance that is too much and can cause physical harm or death
  • loophole: words or details that have been left out of a law; allows people to claim they aren’t breaking a law

New Language Checks For Doctors In UK

As of April, all doctors who want to treat National Health Service patients in the UK will be subject to an English language check. To get on the GP list, doctors will have to prove that their English communication skills are strong. The General Medical Council in the UK claims that the new law will a loophole that allowed doctors from the European Union to practise medicine in the UK without proving they could effectively with patients. The new law will require all foreign doctors to have their language proficiency checked. In 2008, a German speaking doctor who was working in the UK gave a a fatal overdose. The mistake occurred because of the doctor’s poor English language skills.

Comprehension Questions

  1. What medical law is changing in the UK?
  2. What medical loophole used to exist in the UK?
  3. What did a German speaking doctor do in 2008?

Discussion Question: Do you think that having strong communication skills is important for doctors? How important is it for your doctor to speak your first language?

show Answers

Written by Tara Benwell for EnglishClub
Tara Benwell is a Canadian freelance writer and editor who specializes in materials and articles for the ELT industry.

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