Indian doctors in the National Health Service (NHS) on Tuesday reacted with dismay and irony as new figures showed that the highest number of foreign doctors barred from practising or suspended from work following complaints were those who qualified in India.
According to regulator General Medical Council (GMC), 93 Indian doctors were struck off the medical register following ‘fitness to practice’ hearings, while 88 more Indians were suspended following complaints and similar haerings during the last five years.
The figures were released amidst steps by Britain’s medical authorities to recruit 50 doctors from India this week to meet acute shortages in accident and emergency departments in hospitals across the country.
“The NHS and the policymakers need to make up their minds since it is ironic that on the one hand Indian doctors are being criticised and on the other hand they are being courted,” said Ramesh Mehta, president of the British Association of Physicians of Indian origin (Bapio).
Mehta told HT: “There is institutional racism in NHS. We have often raised the issue that Indian and other foreign doctors here are given far harsher punishment than the locals for the same mistakes. Fewer local doctors are referred to the GMC, who also get off lightly”.
GMC figures have previously indicated that there has been a major decline in the number of Indian doctors coming to the UK since 2004.
Niall Dickson, GMC chief executive, said: “International medical graduates make a huge contribution to healthcare in the UK and the vast majority of them provide excellent care for their patients.