Foreign Doctors Face Language Tests

UK Autism Doctor Launches Formal Complaint Against London Sunday Times Reporter

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While the GMC would not have a right automatically to test all doctors, the shift means it could act on worries raised when medics try to register for work in the UK. This could mean GMC inspectors checking for language competency when looking at qualifications, how long doctors have been registered in other countries and what experience they have. Red flags may include doctors turning up with interpreters, poor English in interviews or poor written English on application forms. Any worries could then prompt full testing of the doctor’s language skills. The move comes after a series of high-profile cases, including Dr Daniel Ubani who killed a patient in 2008 with an overdose of diamorphine after confusing it with another drug. Dr Ubani, from Germany, injected David Gray, from Cambridgeshire, with 10 times the recommended dose after arriving in the UK for a shift following just a few hours of sleep. The new plans would also allow the GMC to assess any doctor if language concerns arise during a fitness-to-practise investigation. At present, the GMC has no powers to carry out such checks during its hearings. Health minister Dan Poulter said: “Overseas doctors make a hugely valuable contribution to the NHS but it is clear that tougher checks are needed. We have already strengthened the way doctors’ language skills are checked at a local level. These new powers are an important step in making the system even stronger by allowing the GMC to carry out checks on a national level before they start work in the UK and prevent doctors who do not have the necessary knowledge of English from treating patients.” Niall Dickson, chief executive of the GMC, said: “We are delighted that the Government is consulting on changes to the Medical Act to give us new powers to check the English language skills of all doctors when we have concerns about them. This is an important move that will help protect patients and will be welcomed across the country.” A spokesman for the British Medical Association (BMA) said: “It is vital for clinical safety that doctors working in the UK have the appropriate English language skills to communicate effectively with colleagues and their patients. The BMA believes that it is right that we consider enhancing the GMC’s powers to ensure doctors working in the UK can speak English well enough before they treat patients.” At a local level, staff called responsible officers – appointed senior doctors – already have a legal duty to make sure doctors can speak English to perform their role. Since April, there has also been one single national list which every GP has to be on before they can treat NHS patients. Research suggests there were 66 cases in 2011 where senior doctors dealt with linguistic concerns about a doctor locally.

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UK TV show ‘Doctor Who’ is setting a US fashion trend

Her Universe , a company dedicated to creating clothing for the female science-fiction fan, ThinkGeek ,a website with products for “technophiles and geeks,” and Hot Topic have all seen more consumers asking for “Doctor Who” items. Actress Ashley Eckstein, founder of Her Universe, has been surprised by the interest. I never thought I would see it grow this much, the 30-year-old entrepreneur told Girls would come up to me saying they wanted Doctor Who shirts and I didnt know how I could make it work logistically with the BBC in London. Luckily, Eckstein didnt have to cross the pond to try to get the rights to make Doctor Who-themed T-shirts, because the BBC approached her. Ashley was a natural choice. She has a pulse on this demographic and on knowing what girls want, Sriraman said. We knew from our research that Doctor Who was drawing in a lot more women. Her Universe / This T-shirt was inspired by a painting that appears in the season 5 episode “The Pandorica Opens” ($28 at Her Universe). When Her Universe started selling Doctor Who-themed T-shirts, they completely sold out the first day. And theyre not the only ones seeing a huge response from fans: Doctor Who is one of ThinkGeeks top brands, and the only one where items are bought by just as many women as men, according to the website’s press manager, Steve Zimmerman. Zimmerman believes aBritish influence on U.S. pop culture and products is not new, citing examples like the The IT Crowd and The Office. ThinkGeek / The best-selling “Doctor Who” apparel items at ThinkGeek are their collection of bathrobes ($69.99). As it states on the site, “Because even a Time Lord needs a break.” Either we’re enjoying the British version of the shows or are remaking it in our own way; the influence is still there, he said. The fact that a show like Doctor Who, which has such a long legacy, is doing well here is great for helping to increase exposure to science-fiction as a whole. With the premiere of season 7 on BBC America this Saturday, Doctor Who fever is sweeping the nation. At the New York City premiere screening at the Ziegfeld Theater last week, many fans were dressed like the Doctor or his companions, and even more sported T-shirts with sayings from the show. One girl excitedly talked about finding her T-shirt at Hot Topic, which led to a growing crowd that wanted to chime in about where they bought their T-shirts and which store had the best variety.

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Wakefield. “(Deer) shouldn’t even be writing about my case since he is on record as having filed the original complaint with the GMC and has become complicit in the agency’s investigation,” Wakefield writes. Deer has denied he is the source of the GMC complaint against Wakefield – although Wakefield notes that in February of 2004, Deer wrote to a GMC official to “ask your permission to lay before you an outline of evidence that you may consider worthy of evaluation with respect of the possibility of serious professional misconduct,” by Wakefield and his associates. “It was in fact Mr. Deer who initiated the investigation by the GMC in the first place,” says Wakefield’s complaint to the PCC. “He therefore has an undeclared interest in its conclusions. Failure to have disclosed this conflict to readers of the Sunday Times is misleading.” According to the complaint, the PCC code of conduct “states that the Press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information and that while ‘free to be partisan’ it must distinguish clearly between comment, conjecture, and fact.” In yet another section of the complaint, Wakefield alleges that Deer gave him less than 24 hours “to respond to what are clearly very complex issues in an article which had inevitably taken some considerable time to put together. This was clearly insufficient time to consult properly with the lawyers handling these issues on my behalf at the GMC to seek their considered advice, and to access the documentation needed to formulate a proper and thorough response.” It is not clear where this will lead. According to its website, the Press Complaints Commission is “an independent body which deals with complaints from members of the public about the editorial content of newspapers and magazines. Our service to the public is free, quick and easy. We aim to deal with most complaints in just 35 working days.” Commission members will review the accusations and decide what, if any action to take from there. In 2007, however, the Commission ruled on only 32 out of more than 3,400 complaints it had received.

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