Statement from Dr Louise Irvine of the National Health Action Party reacting to Nigel Farage's comments on banning doctors who don't speak 'proper English':
"Nigel Farage is fabricating a problem over doctors not speaking 'proper' English. This is a non-issue. He provides no evidence that doctors' inability to speak English is a problem in the NHS.
"Furthermore, in calling for doctors to be able to speak 'proper' English, Mr Farage is misguided as this is what already happens. All non-UK doctors must satisfy the GMC that they are proficient in spoken and written English to get a licence to practise medicine here. They have to have a sufficient command of English to communicate with patients and colleagues. This applies to EU and non EU doctors. Previous cases of EU doctors being allowed to practise without proficiency in English led to a change in policy so now even EU doctors must be able to speak English proficiently. That has always been the case with non-EU doctors.
"The UKIP leader is trying to catch the headlines again with his favourite theme - blaming immigrants for our problems and to distract people from the real issues facing the NHS which are starting to be debated in the run-up to the election; issues such as underfunding, lack of staff and creeping privatisation. These are issues that UKIP have no answer to so Nigel Farage prefers to distract us by another made-up story blaming immigrants."