Consultation outcome

Language controls for healthcare and associated professions

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

This consultation has concluded

Download the full outcome

Government response

Detail of outcome

The vast majority of the 71 responses received support proposals to allow these regulators the power to apply language controls, where appropriate, to healthcare professionals, to ensure they have a sufficient knowledge of the English language to practise safely in the UK.

We therefore plan to continue with the proposed changes, subject to Parliamentary approval. The Order will be laid in Parliament shortly.

Original consultation


Seeks views on changes to allow professional regulatory bodies to impose language controls on nursing, dental and pharmacy professionals.

This consultation ran from

Consultation description

The 4 UK Health Departments (England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland) want to amend legislation to protect patients from risk associated with the poor English language skills of a minority of health care professionals.

The law currently allows language checks on overseas non-European applicants and on doctors from the European economic area.

Proposed changes will allow the Nursing and Midwifery Council, General Dental Council, General Pharmaceutical Council and Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland to put in place systems for carrying out proportionate language controls on European applicants and for taking fitness to practise action where there are concerns about the English language skills of professionals who are already in practice. The changes will apply to nurses, midwives, dentists, dental care professionals, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians.


Published 3 November 2014
Last updated 29 January 2015 + show all updates
  1. Added consultation outcome and associated report.
  2. First published.