Foreign doctors wanting to work for the NHS will now have to prove they can speak English well enough to treat patients, the government confirmed today.
The new checks were announced after cases in which foreign doctors were said to have provided sub-standard care.
Doctors from outside the EU coming to work in Britain already face strict language tests.
But those within the European economic area are said to have registered to work in the NHS without being asked if they can speak English properly.
The General Medical Council (GMC) pushed for stronger language testing following the case of David Gray, who died in Cambridgeshire in 2008 after German doctor Daniel Ubani administered 10 times the normal dose of diamorphine.
Under the proposals, the GMC will be granted new powers to deny doctors a licence to practise medicine in Britain on the grounds of their ability to speak English.