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Prospective doctors

(33 Posts)
messenger Sat 29-Dec-12 19:53:03

A recent Daily Mail[or Mail on Sunday]article stated that overseas students who aspire to train as Doctors demand that they can retake their examinations for qualification ad infinitum even though they are very redundant in the English language.A lot of doctors `qualified` cannot make themselves understood by the indiginous population as it is..cannot write in legible English,so why is there to be special dispensation for foriegn aspiring doctors?confused

Lilygran Sat 29-Dec-12 20:02:09

Can you give us a link to the article, messenger?

granjura Sat 29-Dec-12 20:16:04

I am not absolutely sure what you mean messenger. Could you explain, please?

whenim64 Sat 29-Dec-12 20:54:01

I saw this in the DM. it claimed foreign doctors want to be allowed to retake their GP exams up to 6 times, rather than the current 4, as their inability to speak fluent English impairs their ability to practise. It was headlined as implying dctors could take their exams as many times as they want till they pass, which is not borne out in the article. It's here if anyone wants to read it.

JessM Sat 29-Dec-12 21:05:34

Thanks, but I think will do something else. grin

whenim64 Sat 29-Dec-12 21:16:07

That's what i did Jess grin

granjura Sat 29-Dec-12 21:16:26

Perhaps because we have a chronic shortage of doctors which is getting worse. The baby boomers are all retiring at once, leaving a huge gap behind them.

But I agree it is of concern.

Nanado Sat 29-Dec-12 21:29:53

Will pass on the DM piece thanks when. I was pretty disgusted when I read their latest piece at Christmas about 'single, immigrant mother get free lodgings in local livery yard' hmm

messenger Sat 29-Dec-12 21:46:00

Thank you for your help and link WHEN I try to keep the articles from the DM and going through the paper I forget to separate it and DW disposes of the paper when we`ve read it inthe bin so by then I`ve forgotten to retrieve the paper ..once again thanks WHENgrin

annodomini Sat 29-Dec-12 21:46:53

The countries of origin of the prospective GPs are said to be India, Pakistan and Nigeria. I know that in African Commonwealth countries the language of secondary and university education is English and would be very surprised if the graduates from the sub-continent weren't fluent English speakers and writers because the bulk of the literature they need for their studies would be in English and, because of the multiplicity of native languages, the medium of instruction would surely be English as well. It would be interesting to know how many attempts the average British born candidate takes to pass the exams.

Nanado Sat 29-Dec-12 22:00:16

I have only had one experience of finding it difficult to communicate with a health professional due to a language problem. This was many years ago and though he probably spoke excellent English his accent was very strong and he became irritated when I kept asking him to slow down one repeat himself. I haven't personally come across this again in the 20+ years since.

nightowl Sat 29-Dec-12 22:10:22

I have to say that I have come across this on a number of occasions in recent years in a work setting, usually in psychiatry where it is absolutely essential to have clear communication as well as a full understanding on the part of the doctor of the cultural context of any symptoms. This was a particular problem in out of hours services when doctors sometimes came to the UK from other European countries just to take part in an out of hours rota without ever living here. This was a response to the shortage of doctors but it does have its problems.

crimson Sat 29-Dec-12 22:30:33

A good doctor needs to pick up on things that haven't been said as well as what's been said. I still remember a long time ago being asked a very direct question by a doctor from a different culture that completely threw me. Mind you there are doctors who are from this country that don't know how to communicate with people sad.

Lilygran Sat 29-Dec-12 22:35:04

I think a lot of people expect to find it difficult to understand when a foreigner speaks to them. Foreign accents can be difficult - British films are sometimes subtitled in the US and I sometimes have problems with American films where the actors have strong regional accents. I think they have an editor at the DM whose responsibility is to invent inflammatory headlines even when the stories are not. Thank you for the link, when.

petallus Sun 30-Dec-12 09:36:52

When I was training as a psychological counsellor it was emphasised that particular care needed to be taken when seeing someone from a different culture.

The usual unconscious assumptions that we all make when communicating with someone from our own culture should not be taken for granted.

This also applied to anyone with a different sexual orientation.

My own experience with doctors from abroad does lead me to believe that there can be subtle problems in communication. It happened when one of my grandchildren was seriously ill. It wasn't just that we could not always understand what the consultant was saying, the interaction was 'bumpy' at other levels.

Dare I say it, if I was trying to deal with something particularly difficult, like a diagnosis of terminal cancer, I would prefer to see a doctor from my own culture.

jO5 Sun 30-Dec-12 11:04:51

this is worrying

kittylester Sun 30-Dec-12 11:19:00

This happens at all levels of health care. There are nurses at Mum's home who are almost unintelligible on the phone although more easy to understand in person. It must be very confusing for people of my Mum's generation who have not had much interaction with different nationalities - despite living in Leicester! I live in fear of Mum saying something awfully racist when she doesn't understand what is being said to her.

gracesmum Sun 30-Dec-12 11:20:22

Oh well done DT. Let's panic everyone and really put the wind up them.
I too have had occasionally problems with (highly qualified) hospital doctors and nurses - some from the Far East, some Eastern European, whose use of English was, shall we say, different and who sometimes came across as abrasive. They did the business when it came to doctoring however. DH's heart surgeon is Chinese and brilliant - he can be more than a little brusque however.
At the moment 3 of our local GPs in our practice are 1) North African 2) (I think) Kenyan and 3) Asian. Actually they all speak perfect, beautiful English and are sympathetic understanding doctors. Yes, I think competence in English is necessary and it is not being racist to insist on that, but let's not start a witch-hunt.
BTW, messenger what did you mean by redundant in Enlglish?

petra Sun 30-Dec-12 11:33:50

Some years ago I was bleeding (when I should not have been) I had every test possible done: nothing wrong. Sometime after this I moved to Bulgaria and it started again. I went to my local hospital and saw a female Doctor who did not speak a word of English, and visa versa. Between us she sorted it out and it has never happened again.
I suppose what I'm saying is: given the right Doctor language is not necessary.

Mishap Sun 30-Dec-12 11:35:33

Sadly there are problems with foreign doctors, not just language, but as others have said, cultural misunderstandings. We are so vulnerable when we are ill that these things matter much more than if there is a misunderstanding with a bank clerk whose English is dicey.

If you have had a bad experience in this situation it is bound to make you wary - I have and I am.

Alexa Sun 30-Dec-12 11:43:02

Immigrant ladies in 'a livery yard' Really? Is it a euphemism?

bluebell Sun 30-Dec-12 11:51:51

For me the main issue is where a foreign born doctor had done his/ her pre-registration training. If in UK, then not only is language almost certainly not going to be an issue, but they should be better versed in our general culture and the culture of the NHS. Having said that, because of shortages here, we are going to continue to import doctors trained abroad. There should be much more emphasis put on induction into UK culture( whatever that is!) and institutions and not just language - although non- EU doctors have to pass a language test - I don't know if its just on written English. I agree that with some conditions, language may not matter but with mental health for example it really does.

Elegran Sun 30-Dec-12 11:54:45

Maybe it was a spoof about someone who had travelled far for a census and had to lodge in a stable and give birth there.

Alexa Sun 30-Dec-12 12:02:34

Kittylester, I would love your Mum saying 'something racist' and I believe that properly trained nurses or medics from all and any ethnic backgrounds would treat an elderly lady's ideas with gentleness and understanding.

I agree BTW that medical personel indeed any public servant should be a skilled communicator including by means of language; whatever the patient/client/ customer requires.

(What is up with the spell checker on gransnet it objects to perfectly ordinary words?)

grannyactivist Sun 30-Dec-12 13:04:43

I recently met a nurse from India. Although she was educated there her school taught all lessons in English, albeit circa 1950's language. I believe she was very competent in her nursing practise, but she was constantly being pulled up about her 'softer' skills. When she described the incidents that had prompted criticism from patients and colleagues it was easy for me (though not her) to see why. She was VERY rude in her manner; not intentionally, but due to cultural differences. At first she thought she was being 'picked on' because of racism, but I encouraged her to listen to how others spoke to the patients and see if she could spot the difference - reluctantly she agreed that she DID speak to patients more abruptly and worked at changing her manner (though only in order to pass her appraisal). I liked her enormously, but I would not have wanted her to nurse my mother (or me for that matter).