NHS Doctor Suspended Over English Language Issues

An Italian doctor has been suspended from practising medicine in the UK after he failed a series of English language tests.

Dr. Alessandro Teppa will face disciplinary action over language skills following a change to legislation relating to the issue back in 2014.

Although the situation is yet to be fully resolved, it is certain that his existing suspension will last for at least nine months, as determined by the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS).

Elsewhere, a Polish doctor who failed language tests on three occasions has been allowed to work under supervision.

Dr. Teppa had been granted a licence to practice medicine in UK in 2012. This followed 14 years of practising in Italy.

Teppa then failed an English assessment in 2014, and was subsequently placed under an interim suspension order.

Although Teppa claimed to have been taking English lessons at his home in Italy, it was evident to the panel assessing his ability that it was insufficient to practice medicine in the UK.

The General Medical Council (GMC) endorsed the decision of the MPTS, with Niall Dickson, Chief Executive of the GMC stating that “this doctor should not be able to practise in the UK again until he can demonstrate he is able to communicate effectively.”

A separate case involved a second doctor, Dr Tomasz Fryzlewicz, who qualified in Poland and has held a licence to practise in the UK for the last nine years.

Fryzlewicz failed separate English assessments in October and December 2014, with a third failure following in February 2015.

The panel assessing the Polish doctor’s capability ruled that he must work under only direct supervision over the next 12 months.

There was also a stipulation that the doctor must pass an English language assessment in the next year.

However, the Chief Executive of the GMC did not support this particular verdict.

Dickson instead suggested that more stringent sanctions should have been taken against the Polish GP.

“We are disappointed that the MPTS panel did not suspend Dr Fryzlewicz as we had requested but we are satisfied that the panel has placed sufficient conditions on his clinical practice to make sure that patients will be protected,” Dickson commented.

Colleagues that work with the Polish doctor provided evidence stating that he seemed to be lacking in English comprehension.

New powers allowing the medical regulator to check doctors’ English language skills came into force in June 2014.

Previously only doctors from outside Europe could have their language skills tested by the GMC.


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