Polish doctor suspended for poor English skills gives SEVENTH chance to pass language exam

Dr Tomasz Fryzlewicz, 62, moved to the UK in 2006 from Krakow and worked in various NHS hospitals

A Polish cardiologist who was labeled a risk to patients and suspended because of his poor command of English had a seventh chance to pass his language exams by a disciplinary panel.

Dr Tomasz Fryzlewicz, 62, moved to the UK in 2006 from Krakow and worked at various NHS hospitals as a stand-in as well as in a non-clinical role analyzing echocardiogram data for clinical trials.

But the cardiologist, a medical graduate 35 years ago, was reported to the General Medical Council in 2014 after repeatedly failing English tests that assessed his speaking, listening, reading and writing skills.

He has since appeared before practice medicine committees every year after failing several times despite insisting that he watched BBC TV shows and listened to Radio 4 with the aim of ” acquire better English.

Initially, Fryzlewicz, now based in Plymouth, was allowed to work in supervised hospitals, but during his third court in 2017 he was suspended from his practice for six months after failing to improve his English to the required level.

He was readmitted to guardianship work in 2018 but was banned again in 2020 for 12 months.

Today it emerged that Fryzlewicz had been suspended for an additional 10 months after refusing to take another make-up, arguing he needed more time during the exam to give him a chance to pass.

The Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service stopped before suspending him for life to give him another chance to pass either the international English language testing system or the medical version of the professional English test.

He cannot be struck off for language issues.

The doctor had previously condemned GMC investigators as “non-humanitarian bureaucrats” and accused them of engaging in a “witch hunt”.

He also claimed to have been the victim of “indirect discrimination” because of his nationality.

In a letter, the doctor alleged that the GMC “pressured” an IELTS examiner not to give him higher marks and also a senior colleague to change his “positive opinion about him. “.

The memo added: “The bureaucrats at GMC are using impractical and disproportionate measures, rather than seeking a viable solution to my situation.”

In previous hearings, it had been said that Fryzlewicz had been fired from Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow and University College London Hospital due to concerns about his language skills before being offered a cardiology position at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.

This offer failed after sending various emails in broken English that said to send “a massage” and add: “I’m still not getting a response and no one is contacting me.” Once again I have sent this information and please contact me. ‘

Previous hearings have learned that Dr Fryzlewicz had been offered a cardiology position at Oxford's John Radcliffe Hospital (pictured) but the offer fell through after sending emails in broken English

Previous hearings have learned that Dr Fryzlewicz had been offered a cardiology position at Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital (pictured) but the offer fell through after sending emails in broken English

He first took the IELTS test in October 2014 and was expected to achieve a minimum score of 7.5 but only received an overall score of only 5.5.

He then took another test of his own accord but only scored 6.5. He sat down again the following year but only got 5.5.

Fryzlewicz then pledged to start 250 hours of English lessons and agreed to work under the supervision of a consultant, but still could not achieve a score of 7.5 on his IELTS exam despite repeated exams. of its performance.

The last hearing in Manchester learned that Frzylewicz had since passed the English and GCSE level and produced a list of books he had read as well as certificates relating to the English language which he had recently undertaken. .

But GMC lawyer Peter Warne said: “The test for Dr Fryzlewicz to establish that he has addressed the concerns raised by the last court had not been met.

“His accusations are unfounded and the onus is on him to demonstrate that he has a level of English that allows him to work safely as a doctor.

“He didn’t, although he was asked or asked to perform satisfactorily on the IELTS tests.

“In fact, the only way for Dr Fryzlewicz to restore his fitness to practice medicine would be if he was successful. Instead, he tried to set an acceptable standard for himself. He ignored what he was asked to do and seeks to blame others.

Fryzlewicz, who represented himself, claimed his skills would be particularly useful in treating patients during the coronavirus pandemic and said he was initially licensed to practice in 2007 when he submitted an IELTS score of 6.0.

He said due to a change in the law he now needed a score of 7.5.

The doctor said at the hearing: “I am surprised at the level of detail in which the GMC went into the investigation of my language skills.

“They used non-humanitarian methods. Each sanction was imposed unfairly and made it more difficult for me to improve my language skills.

“As I am not fluent in English, it was difficult for me to defend myself during these hearings. It was stressful and it had an impact on my personal life and finances. I should be able to go back to work as a doctor to earn a living and support his family.

“I did well on tests in parts, such as speaking and listening, and I passed English classes, including a college course.

“Suspension is not the most appropriate sanction in this case, as it would be impractical and ‘disproportionate’ and would be against the patient, myself and the idea of ​​medicine.”

When asked why he hadn’t taken an IELTS test since the 2020 hearing, Fryzlewicz said it was “not a good tool for him to demonstrate his language skills” and that he needed more time to pass the tests than is allowed.

But he insisted that he was “ready to take all the necessary tests” and that he should now be “very close to passing the IELTS test”.

MPTS President Alice Moller said: “Dr Fryzlewicz continued to fail to understand the importance of demonstrating the required language skills in English through the tests authorized by the GMC.

“He has made positive progress, including taking an English course, earning a GCSE degree in English language and reading several books in English, but has previously ignored invitations or instructions to take the relevant tests.

“OET tests are now offered at 20 sites across the country. It takes 2-3 weeks for the tests to be booked, with a date for the test given to the candidate approximately 2 weeks later. The test costs £ 180 and the test results are provided to candidates within a month.

“A 10 month suspension period would be appropriate, to give Dr Frzylewicz time to perform an OET or IELTS test and this would ensure patient safety.

“It will be up to Dr Frzylewicz to demonstrate that he has a good command of the English language.”

An eighth disciplinary hearing will be held next year to review the doctor’s progress.

Previously, only doctors from outside the EU could have their language skills tested by the GMC, but this was examined following the case of a German doctor born in Nigeria who injected a patient with a lethal dose morphine, in part due to his poor English while on his first shift as a locum doctor in 2008.

Comments are closed.