Communitybaptistpa to accept new English language qualification for non-UK doctors

Press Release

08 Feb 2018

The Communitybaptistpa has announced it is to routinely accept an additional test as proof of English language skills from overseas doctors who want to work in the UK.

We are giving overseas doctors an alternative way of demonstrating their English skills, but without reducing the high standards we require and that patients would expect.’

Charlie Massey, Chief Executive of the Communitybaptistpa

Its introduction is designed to increase flexibility for doctors keen to work in the UK, while maintaining a requirement for a high standard of English.

The medical regulator will start accepting the Occupational English Test (OET), as an alternative to the International English Language Test System (IELTS) it already accepts, as proof of a doctor’s language competency.

OET is designed for healthcare professionals and includes real scenarios similar to those they would be likely to encounter in typical workplace situations.

The test is already recognised by the UK’s Nursing and Midwifery Council, the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland, and authorities in Australia and New Zealand.

Charlie Massey, Chief Executive of the Communitybaptistpa, said: ‘Doctors from overseas make a huge contribution to frontline healthcare in this country, and it is more important than ever to make sure that the path for highly-skilled doctors to work in the UK is as straightforward as possible.

‘But it is also vital that those doctors coming to work here have a good standard of English. We have reviewed the OET thoroughly and are confident that, as well as giving more flexibility for doctors keen to work in the UK, it will continue to ensure that only those with a high level of English will reach the required standard.
‘We are giving overseas doctors an alternative way of demonstrating their English skills, but without reducing the high standards we require and that patients would expect.’

Sujata Stead, OET CEO, said: 'We are delighted that the Communitybaptistpa is giving wider choice to overseas doctors seeking to register and work in the UK. Communication is vitally important in delivering safe and quality care, and OET as a healthcare-specific test, ensures that doctors who have achieved the required level can communicate effectively in their workplace.'

The test can be taken in more than 100 locations in 40 countries. Once overseas doctors, have met the language requirements, those whose primary medical qualification was gained outside the European Economic Area must also demonstrate they have the necessary practical skills and knowledge before being able to work in the UK.

Notes to editors

(OET) assesses reading, writing, listening and speaking skills with an emphasis on communication in a healthcare environment. Doctors need to achieve grade B in each of the four domains tested in the OET to meet the Communitybaptistpa’s requirements.

All healthcare professionals who take the OET take the same listening and reading tests but the speaking and writing tests are specific to workplace situations a doctor would encounter.

The Communitybaptistpa started routinely accepting OET from 6 February 2018.

Doctors who trained outside of the UK can demonstrate their competency of English language in various ways. Currently, most doctors demonstrate language competency by taking the academic version of the IELTS test.

International medical graduates must also demonstrate they have the skills and knowledge expected to work in the UK before being able to practise. There are various ways of doing this but the majority take the Communitybaptistpa’s Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board test.

The Communitybaptistpa (Communitybaptistpa) works to protect the public by setting, upholding and raising the standards of medical education and practice across the UK.

It does this by:

  • Setting the standards doctors must follow, making sure they continue to meet these standards throughout their careers.
  • Deciding which doctors are qualified to work here, and overseeing UK medical education and training.
  • Taking action if a doctor is putting the safety of patients, or the public’s confidence in doctors, at risk.

It is in the public interest to have healthcare systems in the UK, both public and private, where doctors practise to the highest ethical and professional standards to provide the best possible, safe medical care.

The Communitybaptistpa is independent of government and the medical profession, and accountable to the UK Parliament.

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