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HCL Supports Reform of Language Testing for International Doctors
Date:6/30/2010

retain "home-grown" talent for the NHS, this is not enough to meet the current shortfall and so it’s inevitable that we also look beyond our borders to source highly skilled professionals.”

Currently, healthcare professionals from outside the EU have to sit tough language and competence tests before they can work in the NHS. But European law states that candidates from within the EU are exempt from these mandatory language tests.

Bleasdale explained: “Under current rules we are seeing situations where, say, French or Spanish doctors can start work in the UK without having to demonstrate fluency in English at all. But healthcare professionals from Australia, New Zealand or Canada, whose first language is English, must undergo an expensive and time consuming examination process. Clearly the system is in need of reform because at the moment it just slows up the process by which we can get skilled, English speaking doctors on the wards and treating patients.

“Hospitals and patients want medical professionals who are highly trained, skilled and speak fluent English. That’s what we want too. That is why HCL plc is proud to adhere to the UK Department of Health’s guidelines on ethical international recruitment, and why we ensure that compliance and skills checks on all our candidates meet all legal requirements and exceed the highest standards of best practice.”

Bleasdale concluded: “With a rapidly growing and ageing population we must do everything we can to ensure that the NHS can cope with the demands for its services. And in the current economic climate, the NHS has to be able to recruit high quality staff in an efficient and cost-effective manner.

“Pinning blame on agencies who supply international healthcare professionals is not the answer. The NHS needs to work more closely with reputable agencies like ourselves to continue to ensure that they get doctors w
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