Communication is key
Pharmacists who have trained outside the European Economic Area and whowish to practise in Britain have their English language skills assessedas part of their application to join the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’sRegister
Pharmacists who have trained outside the European Economic Area and who wish to practise in Britain have their English language skills assessed as part of their application to join the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s Register.
Pharmacists from within the EEA face no such hurdle, even though the Society would like to be able to take on the responsibility of testing them, too (pp204–5).
The question of responsibility is muddied because, although the Department of Health believes it is an employment issue, a recent survey carried out by the Society reveals that nearly two-thirds of employers do not routinely assess candidates’ English skills; many of them assume it has been already done by the Society (p197).
Not surprisingly, a substantial minority of employers admitted in the survey that language difficulties have caused problems.
The free movement of labour throughout Europe is an important principle. But countering the potential risks to patients from misunderstanding a pharmacist’s advice must surely have a higher priority than allowing a European pharmacist to work wherever he or she chooses.
The Society is lobbying to have all this sorted out — a move that is supported by the medical and nursing regulators.
A Government that places such importance on ensuring that health professionals are regulated to protect patients and the public is failing those groups by not demanding that these same professionals can communicate effectively.
Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal URI: 10975958
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