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This is the system whereby doctors have to demonstrate their clinical skills and competence before they can join the medical register in the UK. The GMC said there is also a new system of checks – known as revalidation – that began this month. This requires all doctors in the UK to show they are keeping up to date and are fit to practise, based on an annual appraisal and feedback from patients, doctors, nurses and other colleagues. The UK is the first country in the world to introduce such a system across its whole healthcare system, the GMC said in a statement. The figures for disciplinary action were initially obtained in a Freedom of Information request to the GMC by the Sunday Telegraph . They show that in the last five years, there have been 669 doctors either struck off or suspended, and 420 of them were trained abroad. Dr Vivienne Nathanson, British Medical Association director of professional activities, said: “It is clear that doctors who have qualified overseas are more likely to be subject to disciplinary action. “However, more research is needed to understand why this is the case. The UK is still short of doctors and so we must ensure that those who come from overseas are given adequate support to be able to practise medicine in the UK. “It is critical that all doctors that work in the UK have appropriate clinical and communication skills as well as an understanding of UK law and culture and of how the NHS works.” ‘Shocking’ Julia Manning, chief executive of centre-right think tank 2020 Health, told the Telegraph the figures were “worrying and shocking” and said there was an urgent need to review the assessment of arriving doctors. David Gray was given a lethal overdose Dr Umesh Prabhu, national vice-chairman of the British International Doctors Association, told the paper there were cultural differences and communication problems, rather than differences in clinical training. A Department of Health spokesman said the checks being introduced would “ensure that the small number of dangerous, often overseas trained, locum doctors who do not understand the British medical system are stopped from treating patients”.
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