Lord Winston, Professor of Fertility Studies at Imperial College, London University, issued a warning in the House of Lords on 8 September 2011 that the inability  to communicate effectively of nurses from Eastern Europe is putting patients within the NHS at risk.  Lord Winston fears that the problem will worsen unless action is taken.

The Nursing and Midwidfery Council is unable to test nurses arriving from European countries on their langauge ability or clinical skills under EU law.  The law is intended to prevent restricion of the free movement of labour within the EU.

According to the GMC, doctors from the European Economic Area constitute about 10% of the doctors working in the UK.  The number of European nurses registering to work in the UK has doubled since tests on their language and clinical skills were abandoned. 

The House of Lords’ enquiry into free movement of medical workers within the EU was told that patients were being put at risk by medical staff who cannot speak English or understand  basic medical terminology such as ‘nil by mouth’. 

Lord Kakkar, a surgeon, agreed with Lord Winston’s views:  “It is not right for fellow practitioners to have to work with these individuals.  But most of all it is not right for the citizens of our country, who at times when they are unwell and becoming patients in our health care systems need to be absolutely certain that the practioners to whom they are exposed are  competent, meet the standards of medical practitioners in our country and therefore can with certainty provide the quality of care that citizens in our country deserve”.

From this it is difficult to see how any medical; or nurse practitioner can effectively treat a patient without the ability to communicate adequately to obtain an accurate history from the patient.

Clinical negligence is a specialism of Blackburn and Co. If you would like to discuss a clinical negligence issue with us simply call or contact us


Free Legal Advice Clinic

by admin on December 1, 2010

Blackburn & Co are running a free legal advice clinic on the first Wednesday of every month from 5.30pm to 7.30pm.  If you wish to attend please contact Emily Dale on 01305 858050 tomake an appointment.



November 4, 2010

Blackburn & Co are running a free drop in legal advice clinic on Sunday 7th November from 11am – 1pm. If you have any legal questions please feel free to come and see us.

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Co Ownership

November 1, 2010

Joint tenants or tenants in common? Do you know the difference and the implications of how you hold your property? There are two forms of ownership of property, namely, legal and benficial ownership. Legal ownership is when you are registered owner of the property whereas beneficial ownership could be when a declaration of trust has [...]

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Divorce & Family Matters and All Other Legal Issues – Free Clinic & Free Parking

October 27, 2010

Divorce & Family Matters and any other legal issues can be dealt with by our Solicitors at a free drop-in clinic on Sunday 7th November from 11am to 1pm, we are the only firm in the area to be offering this service. Also as part of the Dorchester BID, if you instruct us to act [...]

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Pre-Nuptial Agreements – Binding

October 20, 2010

A pre-nuptial agreement is binding on the husband, so say the Supreme Court in the case of Radmacher, upholding the Court of Appeals decision. This is the first case in which this view has been held and indicates a change of approach by the courts. Thorpe LJ in the lead judgment stated “In future cases [...]

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Power of attorney, why make one?

October 20, 2010

Setting up a power of attorney in supportive communities like Dorchester can help. Have a look at the case below to understand furhter. In April 2009 an elderly lady suffering from dementia was snatched from her daughter’s house by social workers and taken into care. It was against the family’s wishes but social services did not agree [...]

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Clinical negligence claims in Dorset – new free evening legal advice clinic

October 15, 2010

Dorset residents with clinical negligence enquiries are invited to contact us to arrange an appointment at our new free no obligation evening  clinical negligence advice clinic which is held at our office at Wessex Chambers, 33 Trinity Street, in Dorchester every Wednesday between 5.30 p.m. and 7.30 p.m.  Each appointment will last at least 30 minutes. It [...]

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Can all doctors practising in the UK understand English?

October 14, 2010

Less than a quarter of non-UK EU GP’s are currently being tested for their ability to speak English and their clinical skills,  according to an investigation by Pulse, the medical newspaper. In 2008, Dr Daniel Ubani, a German doctor, killed a patient, David Gray, by giving him a massive overdose of more than 10 times the normal dosage [...]

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Clinical negligence claims in Dorset – an inconvenient truth

October 12, 2010

Clinical negligence claims in Dorset, as elsewhere, are sometimes perceived by members of the public as unethical.  However, a lot of the commonly held views are not supported by the evidence. Frank Furedi, a Professor of Sociology at the University of Kent, has suggested in national newspapers that it is “immoral” for personal injury victims to [...]

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