First Person: Prescribe good English
PEOPLE born in the United Kingdom tend to take for granted the concept that the English language will be spoken wherever one travels in the world.
However, despite its popularity, it is not the case that someone speaking the language can also instantly make themselves understood; nuances can cause the greatest to stumble. This is an important concept when considering the case of people coming from abroad with the intention of working in the United Kingdom.
In England, we are fortunate to have many doctors working within the NHS whose country of origin is elsewhere. Without the knowledge, skills, hard work and caring dedication of these doctors, the NHS would struggle to survive at all. The majority of these doctors have excellent language skills, and would put my own linguistic ability to shame when you consider my inability to speak any other language beyond a rudimentary "schoolboy level".
Occasionally, however, we meet someone who can get by in English, but who lacks the finer depth of knowledge to ensure that they are understood when trying to explain difficult medical concepts to patients.
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From April 1, all doctors coming to England will need to demonstrate that they have a good command of the English language before they can start work. It has long applied to doctors from outside the European Union, but will now apply to those from the EU as well. Hopefully, patients will no longer be left thinking, "I heard every word, but what did he say?" It should enable us all to benefit from the skills of overseas doctors.