Required English Language Competency
The ability to communicate clearly with patients and colleagues is a key requirement for all healthcare professionals. Proficiency in the English language is therefore a core competency for NCHDs working in the Irish public health service. Under Section 6 ‘Standard duties and responsibilities’ of NCHD Contract 2010, NCHDs are required to be able to communicate effectively with patients and clients; and comply with statutory and regulatory requirements, corporate policies and procedures and human resource policies and procedures.
Requirement for all NCHDs
The English language requirements for NCHDs are universally applicable. There is no distinction between training, non- training, intern or any other category or grouping. In this context, all NCHDs taking up employment with the HSE and section 38 organisations who were not registered with the Irish Medical Council in any of the divisions of the Register of Medical Practitioners prior to 1st January 2015, or who did not complete the entirety of their under-graduate medical training in the Republic of Ireland, are required to provide evidence under one of the following categories:
- Category 1. Doctors who completed their Medical degree in English from any of the following
countries: Australia, Canada, New Zealand, The United States of America or The United Kingdom must
o A copy of their Medical Degree Certificate
- Category 2. Doctors who completed: The Irish State Leaving Certificate examination or A Levels in the
United Kingdom and a Medical Degree in English must provide all three of the following:
o A copy of Irish Leaving Certificate/UK A-Level transcript results
o A copy of their Medical Degree
o Certificate/confirmation from their University confirming their Medical degree was taught and
examined solely in English
- Category 3. Doctors who meet the English Language requirements by attaining certification via the
recognized English Language Tests must submit a certificate of test results from either the
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International English Language Test System (IELTS) (Academic EXAM) or Occupational English Test
- Category 4. Currently employed by the HSE whereby IELTS/OET/ (CAE accepted until 2016) was
completed upon entering service to the HSE*.
*Applicants that have been in continuous HSE employment as a medical doctor for longer than 2 years, with no
break in service, that submitted an acceptable English language competency certificate at the time of
commencing HSE employment will not be required to re-sit an English language competency test. These
applicants can upload the test they submitted to HSE on commencement of employment and must also confirm
on the application that they have been in continuous HSE employment for more than 2 years, without a break in
Please refer to the table below for the minimum levels in each of the tests that are accepted by the
HSE/public health service employers:
IELTS Minimum scores
OET Minimum Grade
Please note that:
- As outlined above doctors who have not previously been employed with the HSE/section 38
organisations who apply for an NCHD position or to a national Training Programmes must provide
evidence of a valid IELTS/OET test dated within two years at application stage.
- Test results cannot be combined. The HSE will only accept one test result.
- In addition to providing evidence, as required, of the IELTS/OET the NCHDs communication skills must
be independently assessed, by employer or training body, as part of the application and interview
process, before the NCHD is recommended for appointment or contract of employment issued
- Potential applicants must be informed of these requirements as part of the recruitment process.
There are no exemptions to the above requirements.
Should the NCHD at any point not be able to demonstrate the required level of English language competency
set out in Section 6 of the NCHD Contract 2010, the Employer may wish to consider remedial or other action
under NCHD Contract 2010.
All applicants are required at the time of application to demonstrate to the College of Psychiatrists of Ireland
their English Language competency either by means of submitting the required IELTS/OET Certificate
documentation or by declaring themselves exempt under one of the above parameters and providing the
required documentary evidence of same.
***Information correct for July 2022 entry to BST. For further BST recruitment cycles these details are subject to change***