I had been teaching English to medical professionals for over a decade before Dr Ubani – the German-trained doctor whose patient died during his first shift in the UK – hit the headlines. The GMC doubted not only Ubani’s clinical competency, but also his English language skills, and he was struck off.
Until June 2014, when the GMC revised its criteria, those certified in the EU had been virtually exempt from control either clinically or linguistically. Today, the International English Language Testing System (Ielts) is used as a means of ensuring fitness to practice for all overseas doctors. Much has changed since 2008 when Ubani was practising, but as I help prepare a group of overseas recruits as part of an NHS induction programme, I can’t help wondering to what extent the Ielts is actually fit for purpose.