Language test for foreign doctors

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Health Minister Barbara Steffens calls for language tests to be expanded

More and more international doctors work in clinics in Germany, a total of about twice as many as just ten years ago. The number of doctors from abroad is also increasing in North Rhine-Westphalian clinics, with just under 16 percent of them having a migration background. In order to be able to work in a clinic in North Rhine-Westphalia, physicians from abroad have to prove that they can speak and understand the German language in addition to equivalent specialist knowledge. Now North Rhine-Westphalia's Minister of Health, Barbara Steffens (Greens), demands that the written expressiveness be checked in the future and that the tests be standardized across the country.

16 percent of clinicians in North Rhine-Westphalia come from abroad Doctors in hospitals are increasingly coming from abroad, since 2005 the number has almost doubled. This trend also exists in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), around 6000 of the approximately 37,500 clinicians (16%) come from another country. So far, foreign doctors who want to pursue their professional activities in NRW have been checked in advance for their specialist knowledge, but also for listening comprehension and language skills. However, this is now being expanded at the direction of the State Minister for Health, Barbara Steffens (Greens), by also checking the written expression of the doctors in the future: "Doctors not only have to speak the same language as their patients, they also have to be able to provide medical reports and health certificates to formulate correctly, "said the Minister. The responsibility for the review was transferred to the North Rhine-Westphalian Chamber of Physicians and Dentists, since according to the state government of North Rhine-Westphalia, according to the Healthcare Professional Act, the medical profession is responsible for the further and advanced training of the medical profession.

Nationwide alignment of the tests to avoid examination tourism In addition to the extension of the examination, Barbara Steffens also called for a nationwide adjustment of the tests at the North Rhine-Westphalian level in order to prevent so-called "examination tourism" and to protect patients from medical professionals who meet professional standards would not meet in this country: "Foreign doctors with poor knowledge of German must not specifically go to other federal states and receive their license there," said the minister. For this reason, the Health Ministers' Conference had formed a working group in June 2013 in order to work out key points for standardized language tests by spring.

Exams to prove equivalent expertise have been standardized since January 1st According to information provided by the state government, there have also been nationwide guidelines for conducting exams to prove equivalent expertise since January 1st, 2014. In an ordinance, the Federal Ministry of Health has stipulated that doctors from countries outside the European Union have to prove in an oral examination comparable specialist knowledge to their colleagues trained in Germany. The test is comparable to the German state examination, "a long overdue step towards standardizing professional access for doctors in Germany," Minister Steffens continued. (No)

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