London: All foreign doctors, including Indian medics, will have to clear a mandatory English language test before they are allowed to practice in Britain, and work in the National Health Service, under a new proposal mulled by the country's government, a media report said.
   
According to the proposal, the foreign doctors will have to prove they can speak a good level of English for working in the UK, and the General Medical Council is to also get powers to take action over concerns about an overseas medic's ability to speak the language.
   
"There is considerable anxiety among the public about the ability of doctors to speak English properly. After 13 years of inaction from Labour to tighten up language controls, we will amend the legislation to prevent all foreign doctors with a poor grasp of English from working in England.
   
"If you can't speak adequate English, you can't treat patients," UK's Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said.

The proposal will ensure patients are treated by doctors who they understand and who understand them. It comes in the wake of widespread concern that many patients are struggling to make themselves understood by foreign-born doctors in the hospitals, clinics and surgeries, the report said.
   
Up to 1,500 foreigners working as general practitioners may not have taken English tests, according to research last year.

(Agencies)