A Romanian nurse hired after being interviewed via Skype put patients’ health at risk because his English was so bad, a tribunal has heard.Jean Ruxanda did not know the difference between various dressings or drug doses and was forced to try and lip read colleagues in the operating theatre in a bid to understand what was being said.Consultants and other colleagues at Yeovil District Hospital raised concerns when they discovered Ruxanda could not understand a word they said.A nurse, identified as Ms 2, told the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) that she met Ruxanda to discuss the problem a month after he began working there, in December 2015.She suggested he listen to the radio or watched television frequently to help improve his English and said he assured her that he had arranged to have English lessons.Ruxanda, a band five nurse, was employed as a scrub theatre practitioner after an interview conducted over Skype following completion of an induction course – normal practice for the hiring of nurses from abroad.He worked at the hospital until January 2016, when his employment was terminated at the end of his probationary period in January 2016 and he was referred to the NMC. New tests for NHS nursesLanguage tests for overseas nurses were introduced in 2007, but until last year, those who came to the UK from EU countries were exempt from them.New rules introduced in January 2016 required nurses and and midwives from Europe to prove they can speak English well enough to practise safely.However, the rules were subsequently relaxed, allowing nurses from overseas to take a set of language exams in two sittings, using the best scores from each, to achieve a pass.Senior managers and commercial recruitment have recently called for a further weakening of the rules, saying that too many are being turned away for poor English.Regulators are embarking on a “stocktake” of the standards to decide whether to take action.Patients’ groups and the Royal College of Nursing expressed alarm, warning that any drop in standards could jeopardise safety. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. The NMC sent Ruxanda seven letters between August 2016 and April 2017 insisting that he complete an English language assessment.However, the regulator received no response. An attempt to contact him by telephone also failed when the number did not connect.Ruxanda was referred to face an NMC tribunal on the grounds that his fitness to practice may have been impaired.He did not attend the hearing having “failed to engage with the NMC” throughout the whole process.The panel concluded he did not have the necessary standard of English to work safely and suspended him for a year.Mary Thomas, for the NMC, said: “The evidence before the panel was that Mr Ruxanda had put patients at a potential risk of harm to his poor handovers and inadequate record keeping.“His working as a nurse whilst being unable to communicate effectively with other staff brought the profession into a disrepute.”“Mr Ruxanda has not engaged with the NMC since August 2016 and therefore there is no evidence before the panel of insight, remorse, or remediation.”If Ruxanda, who is believed to be in his native Romania, wishes to work in the UK again, he will have to complete a English language test, an assessment, and engage fully with the NMC, the panel ruled.