Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Does freedom of movement within Europe trump public safety?

One of the great benefits of our membership of the European Union is the ability to work anywhere within it, a benefit which has allowed British professionals to take their skills to places where they are needed and valued. However, it does occasionally present problems.

A management consultant is, if they get something wrong, unlikely to kill you. On the other hand, a healthcare professional might. The recent incident where a German locum doctor accidentally killed a patient by multiplying the correct dosage of the prescribed drug by a factor of ten, highlighted this risk.

The Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications Directive (MRPQ Directive), agreed in 2005 and transposed into UK law in 2007, is a fundamental component of the Single Market. It allows professionals to have their qualifications, obtained in one Member State, recognised in another and thus allows them to be employed anywhere within the Single Market irrespective of where they have trained.

However, whereas non-EU healthcare professionals have to undergo language testing, EU ones don't, not necessarily ideal for a relationship as nuanced and intimate as doctor/patient.

Thankfully, whilst the Commons is pretty useless at scrutiny of European Union directives, the Lords is rather more dedicated to the task, and its EU Sub-Committee G - Social Policies and Consumer Protection has been exploring the impact of the MRPQ Directive and considering what further steps might be taken. Today sees the publication of its report and, once I've had an opportunity to examine it, I'll report back...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There is nothing in the principle of freedom of movement or mutual recognition of qualifications that obliges any employer to give any particular person a job. This whole story just exposes the incompetence of the people who do the hiring of the NHS.