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Why are foreign doctors failing?

A story published in the Mail on Sunday on Sunday 23rd December 2012 revealed the shocking findings that 63% of foreign medical students failed their exams, compared to the 9% of British students that failed. Success rates are quoted to be so poor that medical associations want doctors to be allowed 6 attempts at passing the tests rather than the current 4 attempts. 

The revelations raise fears that trainee medics are not suitably qualified to treat patients despite spending 3 years working in practice within the NHS before taking exams.  Until they pass the exams, which qualify them to practice independently, they continue as trainees under supervision.

Joyce Robins, co-director of campaign group Patient Concern, is quoted as saying “this is scandalous, if a doctor can go on failing they shouldn’t be treating patients in the NHS and that should be stopped”.

It is our view that 4 attempts at the same exams is far too much already, never mind the suggestion that there should be a further 2.   The report suggests that the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin is considering legal action against the British medical colleges that set the examinations.

This raises the obvious question, are the doctors treating the general public qualified enough and capable enough to do so?

We agree with the report that any attempts to change the current examination should be strongly resisted.

One of the issues raised is the communication skills of the doctors that are also failing the tests.   This is something that is regularly raised as a concern by our clients and a lot of clinical negligence claims could be avoided if the right levels of communication are shared.

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