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Safety First

On Thursday 22 March, the House of Lords will debate the mobility of healthcare professionals in the EU.

The Lords' EU Social Policies and Consumer Protection Sub-Committee published a report on this issue – Safety First: Mobility of Healthcare Professionals in the EU – in October 2011, following a five-month inquiry.

Baroness Young of Hornsey (Crossbench), the Chair of the Committee, who will open the debate, said:

“While we recognise that mobility can bring significant benefits, with doctors, nurses, midwives, pharmacists and dentists from outside the UK helping to provide patients with the best possible treatment, we cannot allow them to be exposed to unacceptable risks. 

“Current EU rules put patients in the UK at risk as regulatory bodies are required to accredit candidates who may not meet UK standards and there is no adequate checking system in place for prospective employers to verify an applicant's disciplinary history thoroughly.

“Since our report was published the Commission have brought forward proposed changes to the Directive, many of which reflect the recommendations in our report. This is a welcome step in rebuilding confidence in a flawed system, but there is still a long way to go to addressing UK regulators' outstanding concerns about some provisions in the proposal. I hope that this debate further informs these aims and reaffirms the overriding importance of patient safety.”

The debate is scheduled to start at about 4.30 pm and Earl Howe (Conservative) will respond on behalf of the Government.

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