English test for foreign doctors welcomed

The son of a man who died after being treated by a German doctor with poor English has welcomed new measures to make sure medics speak the language.

The new legislation came into force yesterday after the General Medical Council (GMC) pushed for stronger language testing following the case of David Gray, who died in Cambridgeshire in 2008. He was killed by German doctor Daniel Ubani, who administered ten times the normal dose of diamorphine.

Appearing on ITV’s Daybreak, Mr Gray’s son, Stuart Gray, said: “You can’t function as a doctor if you can’t communicate with your patients. It’s definitely a step in the right direction now the English language test is going to be done at a local level, but you’ve still got the issue of clinical competence testing which hasn’t been tightened up.

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“Non-EU doctors, they’re tested before they’re registered with the GMC, but we’ve still got this issue where that’s not happening.”

Dr Ubani admitted being exhausted after getting only a couple of hours sleep before starting his shift in the UK, and said he was confused about the difference between drugs used here and in Germany.

The new rules were announced in February after several other cases in which foreign doctors were said to have provided sub-standard care.