Non-EU Doctors Can Be a Risk for Patient Safety, Research Says

Enza Ferreri’s latest report from LibertyGB concerns the manifest incompetence of immigrant doctors in the UK, and the resulting loss of public confidence in the National Health Service.

Non-EU Doctors Can Be a Risk for Patient Safety, Research Says

by Enza Ferreri

The recent news that doctors trained outside the EU perform remarkably worse than others on key exams and performance reviews has created fears and lack of trust in doctors.

This is the result of a study commissioned by the General Medical Council and carried out by the University College London and University of Cambridge, published in the British Medical Journal — the most rigorous study to date — and a research by Durham University also published in the BMJ.

Non-EU-trained doctors make up a quarter of the NHS medical workforce. We’ve repeatedly — in fact, whenever there is a debate on immigration — been told how immigration has been the saviour of the NHS, which couldn’t be run without foreign doctors. And now scientific studies show that these same doctors, in a high percentage of cases, represent a risk for patients’ safety.

According to the new research, more than 80 per cent of NHS doctors trained abroad do worse than the average British doctor in exams to join the professional bodies for GPs and hospital doctors, and half of them would fail the tests passed by British doctors.

More than 88,000 foreign-trained doctors are registered to work in Britain, including 22,758 from Europe. They account for approximately two thirds of those struck off each year. The country with the largest number of doctors removed or suspended from the medical register is India, followed by Nigeria and Egypt.

“We have no idea about the medical schools they come from and inevitably they’re going to be very varied,” said Professor Chris MacManus, who led the UCL study. He also commented: “There is no real mechanism for checking that doctors coming from outside Britain have been trained to the same level as British doctors.”

The UCL’s findings have been made public now — despite the fact that the GMC working party was due to report later this year — in order to defend an allegation that the GMC was racist in marking the exams of foreign doctors.

The British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin launched a judicial review claiming the GMC failed too many foreign doctors in GP tests. But a High Court judge ruled against it this month after seeing the UCL’s report.

Prof McManus said: “We’ve been through the figures with a fine-toothed comb and there is simply nothing to show that examiners are being racist.”

It’s the same old story: fears of accusations of racism — along with problems of staffing an overstretched NHS — trump everything, including the safety of patients. Will something be done now, after the GMC-commissioned research showed more wide-ranging inadequacies than expected? The language skills have also been questioned.

Various medical authorities are now claiming that the pass mark that enables foreign-trained doctors to work in Britain should be raised “in the interests of patient safety”.

Isn’t it interesting that this is what the Liberty GB party, contesting the 22 May European Elections in the South East, was already writing in early 2013 in its manifesto? One of its policies is:

“Rigorously test foreign doctors before licensing them to practice in the UK. Foreign trained doctors are statistically more liable to malpractice and incompetence.”

Enza Ferreri is an Italian-born London writer and the Press Officer for Liberty GB. She blogs at For her previous articles and translations, see the Enza Ferreri Archives.

17 thoughts on “Non-EU Doctors Can Be a Risk for Patient Safety, Research Says

  1. If they don’t kill or maim you thru incompetence they will kill or maim you purposely to please ole allah

  2. Visiting Europe again after forty years I am amazed at the number of muslim barber shops.

  3. What happened to all those indigenous working class kids that played and dreamed of being doctors and nurses in the nineteen seventies?

  4. In Australia, foreign educated medical practitioners must undertake a course of training (supervised work in hospitals) and be examined in their specialisation (GP is a specialisation as well these days). Some speak of protectionism, but perhaps it’s just protection. I think there is also a rather rigorous examination in general medicine.

  5. The EU is a tough act to follow. Free passage into the heart of our homelands by our sworn enemies i.e. muslims who although completely amoral, racist killers, rapists etc and liars to boot, actually do tell us up front what their real intention is. Where’s the unity in that? Sounds more like a recipe for bloody war. I imagine the enemy is simply going for it.

  6. In Britain, I never use doctors who are not native English speakers, and anybody in Britain who does is endangering their health. Foreign doctors understand what they want to understand and patients do not have the courage or knowledge to challenge them. But a Newcastle doctor who grew up in, say, Turkey, is not going to have a full command of Geordie. He will miss things. He will probably never be found out unless he kills a patient–but he will miss stuff. Britons, being mostly monolingual, do not understand that fluency in speaking English with an accent does NOT mean ability to understand everything. In fact, it is easier to speak an artificially learned foreign language than it is to understand it. It is crazy to staff your health system with foreigners.

    • in the USA, I never use foreign trained doctors….If I wanted 3rd world medicine I don;t have to pay first world price

  7. Anyone who has had any dealings with the NHS will know it is excruciatingly PC, even to the extent of putting patients health at risk to avoid not being PC.

    • Do you know of any published accounts online about these experiences? I know this will begin happening soon in the US thanks to ObamaCare. I’d like to be prepared.

      • I, for one am studying brain surgery, OPEN HEART SURGERY and bone setting for my own use and FOR my family as I KNOW THAT SOME FOREIGN HACK DOCTOR HAS JUST THE SAME TRAINING AS ME…..



        hubby and the pet dog are training to do x-rays, blood tests and CAT SCANS!

  8. We have the same issue in the US. Third world nationals just don’t get the rigorous training western medical professionals do.

    • That’s not always the case. One of my specialists is Vietnamese. My internist’s husband goes to this same doctor – and that husband had the advantage of picking the best for his own care since he taught Anatomy at the Medical School for years and knows them all.

      It is not where they come from but where they trained and did their residency. My pain management doctor has a Muslim -sounding name and an accent but I have no idea of his religious views. What I wanted to see were the accreditations and diplomas on his walls. They were first-rate. His interview with us – I always make the Baron come with me – excellent and he took the time to listen and to explain.

      I learned over the years how to get better treatment: bring along a male relative. Have this MalRel wear a suit and tie and carry a briefcase. Be sure he has a notebook into which he makes careful entries. That is the secret of attentive medical care. For men, it would be a wife in a power suit and high heels. No, I’m not kidding. When you’re sick you need an advocate who looks the part.

      I stumbled onto this method by chance. As my various conditions worsened, it became necessary to have the Baron drive me to appointments. He would sit in the waiting room while the doctor saw me. I had been keeping a notebook of doctor visits for a while because I simply blanked when they asked questions. Often I would leave the doctor appointment feeling worse than when I went in. It’s like that with fibromyalgia. They seem to think you’re faking or looking for drugs…and they can be quite rude sometimes.

      It was when I hit on the idea of handing the notebook off to the Baron and having him sit in on my appointments that I began to be treated with more consideration and respect. Bringing along a husband who is wearing a suit and tie, carrying a brief case and taking notes changes the whole dynamic. Suddenly I was getting *superior* care and excellent attention.

      Two horrible situations have arisen when he wasn’t allowed to be present. I’ll mention the first one because it’s shorter. The doctor who performed the surgery on my torn rotator cuff was excellent. However the ancillary staff left a lot to be desired. The anesthesiologist who was prepping me in order to put in some kind of nerve block during surgery so that my post-op recovery would be far less painful was sarcastic and unprofessional. He made fun of my PTSD diagnosis and while he interviewed me about my medical history, he kept wiping his runny nose with his hand. No third worlder either.

      The surgery went well and I was delivered to the recovery room…to “recover” from the anesthesia, I guess. This was day-surgery, in-and-out. When 5:00 pm came, the nurses must’ve wanted to go home because they helped the Baron move my half-conscious body into the car and left him to drive me home. Didn’t ask how far away we lived, didn’t make sure he had a source of pain medication, etc. It was drop-the-body-and-run. The poor man didn’t know what to do…as we drove home I became more and more awake and more and more aware of pain. I barely remember it now, but I remember the vomiting and the feeling I might not survive. Each bump in the road was agony. my thinking processes during the next 24 hours of horrible pain were primal. Being in shock and dissociating, I didn’t have the presence of mind to have him call our family doctor…

      My first two days post-op were a Saturday and Sunday. As far as the hospital and surgeon knew I had a post op pain block but in reality I was lying there wondering if people could actually die from pain. On Monday the Baron called them and got a prescription for pain medication. With that and their ice machine keeping my shoulder cold, I slowly came back to life. As soon as I’d healed enough to think and move I wrote the hospital to describe my experience and inquire what they planned to do so that what I’d experienced couldn’t happen again.

      The place in question is a small Catholic hospital that specializes in orthopedic cases. Their response was immediate and very concerned. I was very clear that I wasn’t initiating any litigation, I just wanted to make sure no one had to endure that again. In addition to the nurses doing a Friday afternoon patient dump, I also talked about the anesthesiologist’s lack of professionalism and the need for doctor education about complex PTSD.

      By the time they’d finished meeting about the case and putting into place safeguards about patients’ releases, I was more than satisfied they’d heard me. But it made me wonder what would have been different if the Baron had been allowed to put on a surgical gown and protect me from the system to begin with.

      No matter where the doctor comes from, the patient and the patient’s family have to be assertive advocates or they’ll be run over by the system. With ObamaCare it is now getting worse.

      • Allow me tell you of the North African muslim doc who did the knee re-placement for my LATE aunt of 58 years old. Yes, she died a week after he botched a knee re-placement… of septic shock. He was not the cleanest doc on the block it has now appeared.

        Yep! He had forged papers and fled the USA right after she died and he is, I ASSUME NOW PRACTICING in ever NOT so careful UK …. as he practiced with forged papers in the good old USA!

  9. Add to this that the privileged classes in Paki or Banglastan and so many other places usually get a free ride through schools that are mere title mills, their teachers aren’t worth much and even less paid, and their certificates often dodgy.

    As our standards are dropping, theirs are not necessarily improving.

  10. “We’ve repeatedly been told how immigration has been the saviour of the NHS, which couldn’t be run without foreign doctors.”

    Will the PC idiots ever wonder why this is? Wouldn’t want to examine that notion, would they?

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