HC Deb 19 April 2000 vol 348 cc520-1W
Mr. Woodward

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidelines he issues on checking the previous employment records of overseas doctors wishing to register to practise in the UK; and what plans he has to change these. [119614]

Ms Stuart

The General Medical Council (GMC), which is an independent statutory body, licences doctors to practice medicine in the United Kingdom, following an examination of their qualifications.

The National Health Service terms and conditions of service of hospital medical and dental staff require all career grade doctors to hold full registration with the GMC, while doctors in training should hold either limited or provisional registration.

NHS employers have a responsibility to take all possible action to ensure that all doctors they appoint are fit to practise. The Department has issued guidance reinforcing the need for pre-employment checks for doctors in the "Good Practice Guidance" issued with the "Appointment of Consultants Regulations 1996". Additionally, the Department has issued HSG(98)64 "The Management of Health, Safety and Welfare Issues of NHS Staff', and HSC 1998/212 "Children's Safeguard Review: Choosing with Care", which cover all NHS staff and advises NHS employers to ensure proper pre-employment checks are made so that employees do not represent a risk to patients.

In addition to the existing guidance, the Department plans to issue shortly a Direction requiring NHS employers to include in their application forms for doctors a declaration to be completed by applicant stating whether or not they have been or are the subject of disciplinary action by an overseas licensing or regulatory body.