The use of overseas doctors in providing out-of-hours services - Health Committee Contents

1  Introduction

1. In 2004 new arrangements for out-of-hours general practice were introduced as part of a new General Practitioner (GP) contract with the aim of addressing inadequate standards and difficulties in retaining doctors in general practice. Many consider the new system an improvement on its predecessor, but it has some serious weaknesses, in particular in the use of EEA[1] doctors and the failure to check their language skills and clinical competence, which led to killing of a patient, Mr Gray, by Dr Ubani, a German locum. As a result of the failings this incident revealed we decided to undertake a short inquiry. We took oral evidence from representatives of Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) and Strategic Health Authorities (SHAs), a medical director of a GP out-of-hours service, the Chief Executive of the General Medical Council (GMC) and his deputy, the Chairman of the Council of the Royal College of GPs, and the Minister of State at the Department of Health, Mike O'Brien MP. We received 7 memoranda.

1   In this report we use "EEA doctors" as a shorthand to cover doctors from the EEA (EU countries plus Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland) as well as other doctors with EC rights, excluding UK nationals, who graduated at EEA or Swiss medical schools. Back

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