Doctors trained overseas are twice as likely as those who graduated in the UK to face formal disciplinary hearings after a complaint has been made against them, it has been revealed.
A General Medical Council (GMC) report showed that less than 16% of complaints against UK-trained doctors resulted in a fitness-to-practice hearing. More than 31% of cases against those trained elsewhere in the EU, and almost 34% of those trained outside the EU, led to a hearing.
Of 54 doctors struck off by the GMC last year, 35 had been trained outside the UK. Offences included sexual misconduct, dishonesty, and failing to provide adequate patient care.
The GMC has launched an investigation into the figures.
Paul Philips, director of standards at the GMC, told the Times: “The number of fitness-to-practice cases we deal with is going up year on year. Doctors with a primary medical qualification from overseas are disproportionately represented, and more are being referred to us than we should be seeing – without a good explanation.”
However, NHS Employers insisted that it was doing everything it could to ensure foreign doctors were fit to practice.
“Pre-employment checks on doctors, whether they are overseas nationals or UK nationals, are rigorous,” said a spokeswoman.
“NHS Employers is actively contributing to the prime minister’s inquiry into employment checks, and we believe the outcome of this will indicate, on a considered basis, what the next steps should be.”