Suspicion of foreigners is always something the Mail is accused of fomenting. But is there any evidence that could lead you to that conclusion? Any clues that might help us understand why they have that reputation?
Some clues there. Now you may say to me: "Pah, Vowl, what the hell do you know? There's nothing wrong with this, you know nothing of newspapers. Headlines are just a shorter way of saying what's in the story!" and I have a degree of sympathy for that point of view. A bit. But the thing is, if it were 'foreign' doctors that were the cause of concern, then that would be understandable that they should be described that way. But it's not 'foreign' doctors at all: it's specifically European doctors, who can be locums in this country in the NHS without having certain checks on their performance.
Having read the story, it seems clear that foreign doctors outside of the EU are subject to an understandable checking procedure, and that's where the perceived problem lies. I can't help wondering if that wouldn't be as scary for readers as thinking that all foreign doctors were 'untested' as the headline implies, and that the key word 'foriegn' has been used again and again, as I understand it was for the original article on Wednesday which these stories are following up; I was in my non-Mail phase then.
That was the story of one bungling doctor, from Germany, who made tragic mistakes. There's no suggestion that other doctors from the EU and Switzerland (or 'foreign' doctors, as the Mail would call them) are making similar mistakes, nor that they are any less competent in general. British doctors make awful mistakes too, let's not forget. It may have nothing to do with his qualifications, or lack of them. It may be the case that the doctor would have passed whatever checks are in place for doctors from outside the EU and Switzerland. We just don't know. But, as is the case with so many of these stories, that unknown is minimised to virtually nothing, and the one example extrapolated to cover everyone, whether that's right, or fair, or not.
So. you get it again and again: foreign, foreign, foreign. Untested. Inept. Except this was just one bad doctor, who happened to be German. If we know this kind of thing is going on all the time, then by all means let's see the evidence. I'm quite willing to keep an open mind, especially if it can be shown that lots of doctors from the EU and Switzerland are making proportionally more mistakes than their British or non-EU/Switzerland counterparts, which would be prevented by more stringent checks. Until then, is it perhaps totally accurate, or fair, to ramp up fears about 'foreign' doctors?