Friday, 9 September 2011
An EU Ruling Which Must Be Ignored
Why are our politicians so subservient to the EU? The answer is complex and of course money is involved, but when lives are risked it is the responsibility of politicians to take immediate action. Yet they don't or won't.
Last year a friend who lives in Sussex had a dreadful experience in her local hospital. She had been admitted for a small procedure and upon arrival she found she couldn't understand a word her 'allocated' nurse said. The nurse couldn't understand her either but when she went for help she was told the problem was her accent the nurse found difficult to understand. Several more nursing staff appeared to speak or understand English and that evening she decided to discharge herself because she felt very unsafe in an environment in which she was unable to communicate. A few months later she had her treatment at a small hospital in the west country where her mother lives.
In this part of Scotland I've never experienced problems with any medical staff whose understanding of English was poor, but many people in parts of England are not so fortunate.
Since last October when the EU banned the Nursing and Midwifery Council from testing the language and clinical skills of doctors and nurses coming from European countries, the number of European nurses registering to work in Britain has doubled. In the first five months almost 1,500 new nurses arrived.
At last a couple of top medics, Lords Winston and Kakkar, have spoken out and warned the government of the dangers of the poor communication skills within the NHS. Lord Winston told peers the situation is 'intolerable'.
Some countries have side-stepped the ruling by ensuring candidates are tested by local health boards rather than a national watchdog. This should be happening in Britain. Why is this serious problem being ignored?