McClarkin brings right balance to legislation on professional qualifications

23-Jan-2013 @ 15:0

Emma McClarkin Emma McClarkin

Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

Proposed legislation to allow key professional qualifications to be recognised across Europe will be more effective and less interfering thanks to the contribution of Conservative MEP Emma McClarkin.

Miss McClarkin, MP for the East Midlands, wrote her own influential report on portable qualifications in 2011 and has been a key player in negotiations over subsequent EU legislation as it progresses through the European Parliament.

She has been successful in protecting a number of key positions -

* That British medical students' courses should not arbitrarily be extended from five years to six.

* That doctors from overseas should have to pass a language test if required

* That all member states should be alerted if a professional faces disciplinary action or suspension anywhere in the EU.

Yesterday the proposals cleared an important hurdle when they were endorsed by the parliament's Internal Market Committee. They will now go for approval to a sitting of the full parliament in plenary session.

Concern over the language ability of overseas doctors has been a growing concern, especially after the notorious case of Daniel Ubani, a German doctor whose poor English was blamed when he killed a patient with an overdose in 2008.

Miss McClarkin said: "I considered it to be vital, in the interests of patient safety and public health, that these new rules should enable relevant authorities to ask doctors from other EU countries to undergo a language test, when appropriate.

"I also negotiated very firmly for the removal of a requirement that basic medical training should involve at least six years of study. I could not see the necessity of that - especially when our hugely-respected training establishments, recognised as international centres of excellence, turn out some of the best-trained doctors in the world and do so in five years. It would have been a pointless interference - annoying to our universities, hospitals and medical schools and off-putting to would-be doctors."

"There are still some elements which we are not so keen on, for example the so-called common training framework, which imposes too much detail in trying to make all equivalent degrees and training courses cover precisely the same things.

"However, thanks to the balance and safeguards we have achieved, this report will make it easier for professionals to get access to work in the rest of Europe as the procedures for recognition of qualifications will be much quicker.

"It will make professional labour more mobile, free up movement of workers and generally speed up the process - but crucially, patient safety will be protected and improved."

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