Language controls for doctors: proposed changes to the Medical Act 1983: consultation report

Document type
Corporate author(s)
Great Britain. Department of Health
Department of Health
Date of publication
30 January 2014
Health Services, Employment, Legislation
Social welfare
Material type

Download (197KB )

This report provides a high level summary of the responses to a consultation on proposals to change the Medical Act 1983 to give the General Medical Council (GMC) more power to take action where concerns arise about a doctor’s English language capability. In total, 54 responses were received; 28 from individuals (mainly identifying themselves as healthcare professionals) and 26 from organisations including healthcare regulators, medical Royal Colleges, and trade unions.

The majority of responses were supportive (for example, around 80% of respondents agreed with the proposed changes in relation to registration and licence to practise, and in relation to fitness to practise) of the proposals in general with many giving additional supportive comments. A number of respondents argued that the proposals do not go far enough and are not rigorous enough. However, the Department of Health believes that the proposals set out in the consultation document will be an effective means of allowing the GMC to ensure that all doctors wanting to work in the UK have the necessary knowledge of English whilst complying with the constraints of European law.